Today we have decided to weview the mobile money transfer facility from Vodacom: m-pesa. The service is not only confined to the borders of our country and m-pesa is one of the most highly advertised wallet platforms. Vodacom m-pesa is a fast, safe and easy way to send and receive money with your cell phone. It is like having instant cash in your hand and you don’t even need a bank account. m-pesa lets you convert cash into mobile money and withdraw cash at any authorised m-pesa outlet. Once you have money in your m-pesa account, you can send it to anyone, anywhere in the country. You are also able to buy Vodacom airtime for yourself and others.
As it’s a product of Vodacom we decided to take a look…
How to register?
Pretty simple really: the “sender” would need to go to an “m-pesa outlet” such as any Vodacom Store (4u or shop), Nedbank Branch, Pep Store, community containers (sponsored by Vodacom), selected retailers and spaza shops (these would have the Vodacom m-pesa sign). A user needs to bring along their ID and the money you would like to send (between R10 and R5000) and then complete the application form, which takes only five minutes. An sms will then be sent through to your handheld device once the registration is complete. This SMS will include a pin as well (which you can change) and once the *130*7372# is dialed – Bob’s your uncle – you are ready to send money!
This cellphone process is run via USSD, and works on the backbone of the Vodacom network.
How to send money?
Another simple USSD process – dial *130*7372# and thereafter follow the prompts:
1. Enter phone number for which the money is intended
2. Enter Amount
3. Enter your pin
This money can now be withdrawn from any m-pesa outlet, listed above, by the receiver. Alternate options for the use of the money from the m-pesa wallet can be found on the USSD menu of the wallet holder. These alternatives include the following:
1. Send money (to another person)
2. Withdraw cash (from the m-pesa wallet)
3. Buy Airtime (for yourself or any other Vodacom subscriber)
4. Pay Bill
5. ATM Withdrawal (from any Nedbank ATM)
6. My Account (view balances etc)
We really think that the m-pesa service is fantastic in terms of simplicity and ease of access to money. In the rest of Africa people use m-pesa to pay for their taxi fares to regular bills and we really hope that the service grows in South Africa so that we can all become regular users of this excellent product.
• This is a broad service offering and can touch a market that is widespread as there are many platforms for money transfer (from the outlets as well as atm’s)
• The Vodacom network can be trusted for safety, security and consistency
• m-pesa is very cost effective with only the R2.50 charge on the sender if transferring to another Vodacom subscriber, and R10 to a non-Vodacom subscriber. ATM withdrawals are set at only R6
• With a large amount of outlets and great partners on board such as PEP and Nedbank – the money from the wallet is easily accessible during working hours and also via ATM at night if need be
• Staff were friendly to and helpful at Vodacom outlet (we visited a Vodacom 4U)
• Extensive offering of services as per the main menu
• Its always a headache to go through to a store to register (but mandatory with FICA laws being strict)
• A larger cost if dealing with a non-Vodacom subscriber
• Network access dependent – would work for the tech savvy and educated non-tech savvy