In a move set to revolutionize banking and allow Tanzanians access bank services via their mobile phones, Vodacom Tanzania and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) have launched a M-Pawa, a service that will allow millions of Tanzanians to save and borrow money on the their mobile phones.
Similar to Kenya’s M-Shwari, M-Pawa is a first in Tanzania’s mobile financial services and will run on the same bank that runs M-PESA and M-shwari CBA with the same m-PESA system as Kenya’s. Vodacom M-PESA has over 65,000 agents
According to President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete the launch of M-Pawa highlights the success in reforms made in the country’s financial sector, coupled with heavy investment made by the mobile communication players.
“This has allowed our people to access affordable financial services through their mobile phone,” he said.
The service is expected to enhance Tanzania’s financial inclusion agenda by making it possible for people to save as little as Tsh 1. The service is easy to use since the customers do not need to fill in application forms while opening the account. They simply open a bank account by simply accessing the M-Pesa menu on their phone and selecting M-Pawa.
Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director Rene Meza said, “There are no ledger fees, limits on the frequency of withdrawals, minimum operating balances and charges on deposits and withdrawals from M-PESA to M-Pawa Account and vice versa.”
“We are optimistic that this service will grow in Tanzania because various studies have shown us that most people want to save and grow their money but are unable to do so because they are unable to meet most of the requirements of the formal banking sector. M-Pawa is our response to this need,” said Meza.
Customers can sign up for M-Pawa by accessing the M-Pesa menu on their phone, selecting M-Pawa and then choose between saving, withdrawing or taking out a loan.
For a subscriber to qualify for a loan, they need to be have used M -PESA for at least 6 months and have a saving history on M-Pawa.
In addition to the over 5 million customers who currently use M-Pesa, Vodacom and CBA are targeting to reach the millions more who are currently outside the formal banking system in Tanzania. Vodacom Tanzania has also integrated its M-Pesa service with 21 commercial banks in the country. M-Pesa is also the preferred payment solution for over 200 businesses in Tanzania which continue to benefit from the M-Pesa payment ecosystem.