“Basic banking and money transfer services play a key role in building a secure economy” says Cenk Serdar, Vodafone’s director of mobile payment solutions. No, you haven’t accidentally strayed onto The Economist website – it turns out Vodafone has made micro savings and micro insurance available via a mobile phone (if you live in Kenya).
The new service uses Vodafone’s existing M-PESA money transfer technology, but now provides customers with the ability to link their transactions to an interest-bearing savings account. Customers can also buy insurance via their mobile.
Vodafone calls the system M-KESHO and customers will earn interest on any deposit above 1KSH. It is operated by Safaricom in Kenya and the accounts are held by Equity Bank.
Vodafone’s Serder said it would provide a safe and secure service for many millions of Kenyans who currently do not have access to a bank account and so are unable to save money in a secure environment.
“We are delighted that M-KESHO will enable more people to save and as a result we hope this will have a positive influence on the whole economy,” Serdar added.
M-PESA was Launched in 2007 and has been used by more than 9.5 million Kenyans as a safe, cheap alternative to carrying cash.
M-KESHO is currently available through a limited number of agents in Kenya, with plans to roll it out nationally over the next few months.