Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money scheme has long been touted as one of the best examples of how to merge banking services with new mobile technology and bring unbanked people into the financial sector, and now users of the service will have more options than ever.
A new collaboration between M-Pesa, Paypal and telecommunications firm Safaricom will allow consumers to seamlessly move money between their M-Pesa and Paypal accounts, which should give these individuals much greater access to online shopping.
Finextra noted that this means M-Pesa users will be able to better connect with more than 18 million merchants globally that accept Paypal. What’s more, it will also enable local businesses to sell their goods and services to more than 210 million active PayPal users around the world, in up to 25 currencies.
After setting up Paypal accounts, Safaricom customers will be able to top these up from their M-Pesa accounts in real-time in order to make online payments. Funds received through Paypal can be withdrawn, with time spans ranging from a few hours to three days depending on the amount being transferred.
Efi Dahan, general manager for the Middle East, Africa and Russia at PayPal, said the new partnership reflects his company’s long-term ambitions to enable e-commerce and “democratize financial services” in Africa.
“We are excited to bring the M-Pesa mobile wallet and PayPal joint services to the Kenyan market, which makes it more convenient and secure for users to withdraw and add money to their accounts while participating in the global digital economy,” he continued.
Director of strategy at Safaricom Joseph Ogutu added that the development will help bring in a “new era of speed and convenience beyond borders”, that will enable more entrepreneurs and consumers to connect to the global e-commerce marketplace and benefit from international money transfers.