Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Vodacom, Nedbank launch mobile cash service

South Africa’s largest cellphone group, Vodacom, is teaming up with Nedbank to deliver a phone-based cash transfer service, similar to a successful service operating in Kenya.

The product, known as M-Pesa, will initially allow users without access to bank accounts to transfer money using their cellphones and eventually pay bills and buy goods.

The service was developed by Britain’s Vodafone, the majority shareholder in Vodacom, and part owner of Kenya’s Safaricom.

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile provider, started its M-Pesa service in March 2007. About 10-million people use the service.

“In South Africa, cellphone penetration is extremely high, and yet it is estimated that more than 13-million economically active South Africans do not have a bank account,” Mike Brown, Nedbank’s chief executive said.

Only one in five households in Africa had access to a bank account, according to the United Nations, but a much higher proportion have a cellphone.

Telecoms trade body GSMA has predicted that operators could make $5-billion from financial services by “banking” 364-million people without bank accounts by 2012.

Money transfer has also been successful in Uganda. In May MTN Uganda, a unit of MTN, said it expects users of mobile money services to grow by three-quarters by 2011. It had registered 890 000 mobile money users and said it expects more than two million users of its mobile money services by the end of the year and 3,5-million users by 2012.

MTN has already launched MobileMoney in South Africa, Rwanda, Côte d’ivoire, Benin and Yemen. Vodafone also offers M-Pesa mobile money in Afghanistan and Tanzania, while Bharti Airtel has Zap mobile cash transfer service in Kenya and Tanzania, launched by Zain. — Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

‘People feel they have a stake in SAA’ — Gidon...

Interest in the beleaguered national carrier, which has received billions of rands in public funding, means criticism is inevitable

Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a...

The learner was 13 when the alleged rapes started, and they continued for two years until she asked to be moved to another school

More top stories

Hospitals near capacity: What the new Covid-19 restrictions mean for...

After a dramatic surge in Covid-19 infections, President Ramaphosa has brought the country back to level three restrictions

Eskom to take over distribution, billing at troubled Free State...

The Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality owes the power utility more than R5-billion

ANC committed to paying staff salaries, but employees are not...

ANC staffers picketed outside Luthuli House on Tuesday after months of problems with salary payments

Kanalelo Boloetsi: Taking on Lesotho’s cellphone giants, and winning

A man who took on cellphone data regulators over out-of-bundle rates is featured in this edition of a series on human rights defenders in the SADC region
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×