CHENNAI: Vodafone India’s M-Pesa was adjudged The Best Mobile Payment Solution in the Global Mobile Money Awards at the GSMA Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, the world’s largest conference for the mobile industry attended by 100,000+ attendees from 200 countries. Vodafone M-Pesa was adjudged the winner from the 930 entries received across 200 countries.
As per the citation from the jury, “Vodafone M-Pesa delivers clear value to consumers, enterprise and the economy, an excellent example of connected network power and the role that digital innovation can play in financial inclusion and enablement.”
M-Pesa is a successful initiative from Vodafone Group and is live in the following 11 countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, India, South Africa, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Romania, Albania and Ghana. In India, the service launched by Vodafone brings the Bank to the Mobile. These services are offered under a Prepaid Mobile Wallet license issued by RBI in Nov, 2012 to Vodafone M-Pesa Limited under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act (PSS Act), 2007.
M-Pesa works on a simple interactive text menu allowing access on simple phones; and does not require internet availability. With M-Pesa a customer can:
Deposit and withdraw cash at a M-Pesa agent outlet that is nearby
Send money to any bank or any mobile in the country – 24×7
Pay merchants for goods and services
Make various bill payments, DTH and Utility
Purchase airtime – prepaid/ postpaid
M-Pesa is a prepaid mobile money account. The service can be accessed via USSD, mobile app and web-portal; USSD being most relevant given that it can be used over any feature phone and does not require internet access. As more than 60% of the agents are located in rural India, it aligns very well for strengthening last mile delivery or collection of cash making it an ideal solution for various businesses to consumer payments and likewise collections from consumers by business entities.
On the disbursement side of business, it enables seamless and convenient channel to transfer wages and incentives the employees instantly and securely. M-Pesa is enabling last mile Government Subsidy distribution and is actively engaged with multiple state governments in the direct benefit transfer of subsidy, pension and salary disbursement.
M-Pesa also provides collection services to corporates who have a distribution network in India, for instance EMI collection for micro finance institutions. Apart from convenience, it ensures nil pilferages, proper tracking and reporting as all transactions are electronically processed with date and time stamp. The biggest user benefit is the de-risking of the business from hassles and indirect costs of cash handling like theft, fraudulent currency, insurance etc.