17 April 2013
Vodafone India and ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, today launched M-Pesa - a leading mobile money transfer and payment service - in a move to help approximately 700 million of the country's population who previously had no access to conventional banking.
M-Pesa was launched by Vodafone in 2007 and is now available in eight countries, including Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The service allows customers to send and receive small amounts of money via their mobile phones as securely and simply as sending a text message. Prior to M-Pesa, many people in developing markets had no choice but to move cash around in person or by public transport, exposing them to delays, personal risk and loss of money in certain cases.
Following a successful trial, the service will be offered initially through more than 8,300 specially trained and authorised M-Pesa agents in eastern areas of India, including Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand, covering a population of around 220 million people. The service will be rolled out across the rest of India in a phased approach.
M-Pesa opens up a range of banking services which were previously out of reach for a vast number of customers, particularly those living in rural areas with little or no banking infrastructure. It will also allow users working in cities to securely send money home to family and friends living in villages. Key services include:
Marten Pieters, Managing Director and CEO of Vodafone India, said: 'For millions of people in India, a mobile phone is a bank account, a front door to a micro-business or a lifeline to people in the remotest areas. Research shows that M-Pesa brings real benefits to users in their daily lives, saving three hours a week of their time and around $3 in money transfer costs - a significant amount to people in some areas.
'In partnership with ICICI Bank, we will provide people in remote areas with a convenient way to bank, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have customised our offering to serve the needs of Indian customers while ensuring its compliance with all applicable regulations. Financial inclusion is a national priority and we believe that with M-Pesa, we now have the ideal offering to enable this.'
Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank, added: 'ICICI Bank has been at the forefront of technological innovations in banking. With the launch of M-Pesa, we now offer an innovative service that provides basic banking facilities to millions of Indians who still depend on informal channels for their banking needs.
'Our partnership will effectively leverage the security of financial transactions provided to customers by ICICI Bank with Vodafone's significant distribution reach. This launch is line with the Bank's objective of achieving greater financial inclusion. It also enriches the Bank's existing suite of mobile banking offerings.
Note to Editors
M-Pesa had 17.3 million active customers as at 31 December 2012 and currently around 100,000 authorised agents worldwide.
A customer can buy airtime, pay for bills such as electricity and water as well as groceries. Many other businesses are using the service to allow their customers to pay them easily and safely. Additionally in Kenya, Safaricom and Vodafone recently launched a savings and loans product in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).
M-Pesa helps some of the poorest and most vulnerable people. One particular highlight of this is the Vodafone-backed Moyo project in Tanzania which treats women of a debilitating postnatal condition, obstetric fistula, and helps pay for their transport to a hospital through M-Pesa.
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Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 403 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as of 31 December 2012. Vodafone currently has equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and more than 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit: www.vodafone.com
About ICICI Bank:
ICICI Bank Limited (NYSE:IBN) is India's largest private sector bank and the second largest bank in the country, with consolidated total assets of over $122 billion at December 31, 2012. ICICI Bank's subsidiaries include India's leading private sector insurance companies and among its largest securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and private equity firms. ICICI Bank's presence currently spans 19 countries, including India. For more information, please visit www.icicibank.com