Kenyans can now receive money from friends and family in the United Kingdom directly to their M-PESA mobile banking accounts. The launch of the international component of M-PESA, managed by Safaricom follows a successful pilot project with selected outlets in the UK.
Three Agents have been involved with conducting the pilots for over 3 months namely Western Union, Provident Capital Transfers and KenTV. A total of 19 outlets were carefully selected to cover areas with relatively high number of Kenyans living, including Reading, London, Luton, Wembley & Glasgow. They comprise a variety of shops including forex agents, news agents and grocery shops that are commonly visited by Kenyans and whom are registered with HM Revenue & Customs in the UK as Money Services Businesses.
Registered M-PESA customers are able to withdraw cash at over 12,000 M-PESA Agents throughout Kenya. They are also able to use M-PESA to pay bills, purchase airtime and to perform local money transfers.
Following authorization by the Central Bank of Kenya, Safaricom shall be increasing the locations in the UK from which money can be sent to M-PESA customers as well as launching services across other popular remittance corridors.
Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph said: "We wish to invite Kenyans living in the UK to take advantage of this service, which presents a real innovation on our M-PESA menu. Through strategic partnerships with Western Union, Provident Capital and KenTV we are giving them an opportunity to convert across two currencies into M-PESA and send money affordably without any hidden costs - directly to the mobile phone of the recipient."
The UK has one of the highest populations of Kenyans living outside the country. This community is also a major source of remittances back to the country.