Dec 2, 2012

M-PESA and the emergency money - Why Safaricom Launched M-Shwari

M-Shwari is a mobile banking service that was launched by Safaricom  and Commercial Bank of Africa. M-Shwari  provides M-PESA users with convenient and efficient access to savings accounts and small loans through their mobile phones.

The main way Kenyans use  M-PESA in relation to borrowing money  is as “emergency money”—funds received quickly to cover emergency cost. These are funds borrowed from family, friends and coworkers.

A good example is health care. Kenyas use M-PESA to  quickly mobilize funds from friends and relatives in order to seek timely health  care, and to facilitate transfer of funds to meet travel costs to the hospital and pay for the health care.

M-Shwari mainly targets micro-savers and borrowers. This target market often has irregular and unpredictable cash flows and poor access to traditional payment mechanisms. The fact that there is no ledger fees, no limits on the frequency of withdrawals, no minimum operating balance and no charges on deposits for M-Pesa to M-Shwari account makes the product smart for its target market.