From today, M-Pesa customers in Kenya will have access to interest bearing saving accounts and have the ability to take out small loans through a new service, called M-Shwari. This is the next step in the M-Pesa story of increasing further access to a wider range of financial services and is the result of a new strategic cooperation between Vodafone, Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA).
Safaricom customers can sign up to the M-Shwari interest bearing savings account, provided by CBA, directly through the M-Pesa menu on their phone. There are no forms to complete and no need to visit a bank branch. M-Pesa customers can also apply to CBA for a mini-loan, again directly from their phone. Based on the individual customer’s M-Pesa transactions and savings history, CBA determines the customer’s eligibility. The loan money is sent by CBA to the customer’s M-Pesa account immediately, again emphasising the convenience and simplicity of M-Shwari.
Working alongside Safaricom and CBA, Vodafone has provided the functionality of M-Shwari and designed the best user experience.
Michael Joseph, Director for M-Pesa within Vodafone Group, says: ‘M-Shwari is a transformational service: saving is no longer the privilege of an elite; all Kenyans can now save, even the smallest amounts and at their own pace. M-Shwari creates a safe environment for customers to borrow small amounts and links the amounts of credit available to the ability to save. Through their M-Shwari savings account, M-Pesa customers are empowered to manage their financial lives’.
He adds: ’Working with CBA meant having access to banking expertise in savings and loans and allowing M-Pesa customers to earn interest from their savings. This is an important step forward for millions of M-Pesa customers in Kenya.’
M-Shwari is a truly mobile proposition, which leverages the power of mobile communications to provide simple and valuable access to banking services. Michael Joseph explains: ‘Based on our experience in Kenya, we will look to take this innovation to other markets’.