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MMU Examples – M-PESA

M-PESA is a mobile payments system based on accounts held by a mobile operator and accessible from subscribers’ mobile phones. The conversion of cash into electronic value (and vice versa) happens at retail stores (or agents). All transactions are authorised and recorded in real-time using secure SMS.

In 2009, GSMA made a grant to Safaricom to support the development of a social transfer payment project via M-PESA.

M-PESA was developed by Vodafone and first deployed by its Kenyan affiliate Safaricom. In May 2012, there were over 15 million customers of M-PESA in Kenya.

Below are articles, blog posts and other resources that operators may find useful when researching this topic.

1. WHAT IS M-PESA?

Designing Mobile Money Transfer Services: Lessons from M-PESA

Author: GSMA

Here you’ll find ten key service features that have allowed the rapid uptake of M-PESA in Kenya. These include branding and messaging, ease of use, customer experience, agent monitoring, instant registration, free deposits, ability to send money to non-registered customers, and agent channel growth.

CGAP Video How M-PESA Works

Author: CGAP

This CGAP video explains In 3½ minutes how M-PESA reached 13 million Kenyans in just 3 years.

2. WHAT MADE M-PESA SUCCESSFUL?

Three Keys to M-PESA’s Success: Branding, Channel Management and Pricing

Author: Ignacio Mas and Amolo Ng’weno, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

How did M-PESA get so big? It defeated the scepticism, network effects and customer- agent interdependencies that affect all new payment systems. This account complements the earlier paper in Innovations by exploring branding, channel management and pricing in more detail.

Seeking Fertile Grounds for Mobile Money

Author: Ignacio Mas, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Amrik Hayer

The difficulty of replicating M-PESA’s success – even in neighbouring countries – suggests some may be more receptive to the idea of mobile money than others. This study tries to understand the variables affecting its popularity.

What makes a Successful Mobile Money Implementation? Learnings from M-PESA in Kenya and Tanzania

Author: Emil Sjöblom and Gunnar Camner, Valuable Bits and Caroline Pulver, FSD Kenya

This document provides an insight into the dynamics that influence the uptake of mobile banking, using the example of M-PESA’s success in Kenya and Tanzania.

3. HOW IS M-PESA REGULATED?

Regulating New Banking Models that Can Bring Financial Services to All

Author: Claire Alexandre, Ignacio Mas and Dan Radcliffe. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Thanks to advances in technology, banks can now delegate ‘last mile’ cash management and customer servicing functions to third-party retailers in towns and villages everywhere.

4. WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF M-PESA?

Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA

Author: William Jack, Georgetown University and Tavneet Suri, MIT, 2009

This article discusses M-PESA’s adoption across households according to income, wealth, location, gender, and other socio‐economic characteristics, as well as the purposes for which the technology is used.

Community-Level Economic Effects of M-PESA in Kenya

Author: Megan Plyler, Sherri Haas, and Geetha Nagarajan. FSA, 2010

This study describes how M-PESA affects community members, both users and non-users of M-PESA, and identifies 11 economic effects after 2 ½  years of M-PESA’s use in these communities.

Notes From The Field: The Emerging Effects of M-PESA’s Rural Outreach at the Household Level

Author: Michael Ferguson, Microfinance Opportunities,2010

Until recently, M-PESA’s service has been mostly reserved for Kenya’s cities and towns meaning rural customers had to travel to use it. Now, with Safaricom reaching out to rural communities, that situation may change. Michael Ferguson looks at the implications of this trend in his Notes from the Field.

Cash In, Cash Out Kenya: The Role of M-PESA in the Lives of Low-Income People

Author: Guy Stuart & Monique Cohen

Using a Financial Diaries methodology, Microfinance Opportunities undertook a study to examine how low-income Kenyans use M-PESA, that country’s pioneering e-money service.

5. OTHER RESOURCES:

M-PESA Resource Centre

Visit Safaricom’s site to find M-PESA press releases, presentations and adverts.

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