M-Pesa launches in Eastern Europe to bring mobile money transfers and payments to the region
Vodaphone announced that it would be bringing African mobile money service M-Pesa to Romania today, marking the first time the successful payments service has been available in Europe.
For those living in Romania, M-Pesa will allow users to transfer money from one new Romanian leu (£0.19/$0.31), up to 30,000 lei (£5566/$9213) per day. It’ll do this in the same form it always has, which is via simple text messaging services over Vodaphone’s network – which includes it’s 4G service launched back in 2012 in the region.
“The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one-third of the population do not have access to conventional banking,” Vodafone director of mobile money Michael Joseph said in a press release. “Vodafone M-Pesa is already used regularly by nearly 17 million customers, and we look forward to bringing the significant benefits of the service to the people of Romania.”
To get the service rolling, users just need to visit a Vodaphone store in Romania, or a participating retailer. This means that around 6 million consumers can access the service in both the countryside and inside cities. By the end of 2014, Vodaphone plans to have the service rolled out to other parts of the country, totalling 2,000 retail and distribution points for customers to make payments at.
M-Pesa can also be used to top up Vodaphone airtime, pay bills, make deposits or withdraw cash from participating agents and purchase goods too.
It’s another strong move for the mobile money service from Africa. After having expanded into four new territories in Africa in the last year, a move into Europe is a great start for further expansion, especially across Eastern Europe where there are fewer competitors and fewer smartphones.
The question worth asking is really, where next?
[Image: pas le matin - Flickr]