NAIROBI, Kenya, Thursday, March 31, 2011.....Safaricom M-PESA’s 13.5 million customers can now receive international money transfers from 45 countries and territories thanks to an agreement between Safaricom and Western Union.
Using any of the 80,000 Western Union agent locations across the globe, including the U.S, Canada, Italy and the U.K., customers can simply and conveniently send the money direct to the M-PESA “mobile wallet” of their friends or family members.
This is the largest deal of its kind in the world, no other Kenya operator can receive money from as many countries. The service rides on Western Union’s worldwide network for processing cross-border remittances and the unprecedented success of M-PESA; a mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Safaricom, which has attracted more than 13.5 million customers since its launch in 2007.
The service will be welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent US$642 million home in 2010 – up from the US$609 million sent home in 2009.
Speaking at Safaricom headquarters in Nairobi, CEO Bob Collymore said, “Our customers are very proud of the revolutionary M-PESA service, and this partnership sees us pushing new boundaries to continue to keep Kenya at the forefront of the mobile world. Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances, and the money is available to use straightaway for any M-PESA transaction, or can be withdrawn as cash at any of our 24,000 Safaricom agents.”
“We are pleased to extend our service with Safaricom, and we look forward to adding additional functionality for M-PESA users in the near future,” said David Yates, Executive Vice President and President, Business Development and Innovation, Western Union.