Vodafone Adds MoneyGram Network for M-Pesa Remittances (Feb. 11, 2014)
Vodafone has inked a deal with MoneyGram that will enable anyone to send funds via MoneyGram’s 334,000 agents worldwide to users of Vodafone’s popular M-Pesa mobile payment service. MoneyGram customers also can make transfers to M-Pesa accounts online or using a smartphone app. The service will launch in “key markets” during the second quarter of this year, according to the companies. M-Pesa is currently available in nine nations, including Kenya (where the service debuted in 2007), Egypt, India and South Africa. More countries are expected to launch M-Pesa in 2014, Vodafone said.
The deal will further expand the functionality of M-Pesa, which has been successful in serving consumers in countries with little bank account penetration. According to the World Bank, more than half of all residents in countries where M-Pesa operates do not have a bank account—and an estimated $90 billion is transferred annually to those markets. “There is huge demand for sending funds back to family and friends in your home market,” said Michael Joseph, Vodafone director of M-Pesa. “Our partnership with MoneyGram provides the most extensive global network and greatest number of access points for consumers wishing to transfer funds to M-Pesa users.”
MoneyGram, meanwhile, has been partnering with payment providers to expand the value of its money transfer network. Last August, the company struck a deal to enable PayPal’s 55 million U.S. account holders to withdraw funds at MoneyGram locations throughout the country. That deal followed MoneyGram’s April 2013 partnership with prepaid voucher provider Ukash, under which Ukash customers can send funds to MoneyGram outlets in the U.K.