Telecommunication major Vodafone India in association with ICICI bank has started a unique money transfer and payment service “M-Pesa” in Bihar and Jharkhand where banking network and financial penetration is inadequate, particularly, in rural areas.
“The ‘M-Pesa’ service launched in December last year is available across 32 districts and 250 tehsils in Bihar at present,” Suresh Sethi, Business head-M-Pesa, Vodafone, told reporters here on Tuesday.
The innovative use of mobile technology makes it possible for customers to enjoy a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money and make payments, Mr Sethi said.
Using their M-Pesa account, customers can at their convenience avail facilities of deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone in the country, make payment to recharge mobile, clear utility bills and for DTH service subscription and shop at select shops among others, he added.
The service is available across Bihar through over 2800 specially trained authorised agents, he added.
Abdhesh Kumar Singh, business head of Bihar and Jharkhand, Vodafone, said the M-Pesa service holds great prospects in Bihar which has a large migrant population and where financial network is poor. A sizeable section of population is migrants who face lot of difficulties in sending money back home, Mr Singh said.
For a population of over 10.50 crore, there are only 4108 bank branches. Bank penetration in Bihar is as low as 13 per cent, Mr Singh said.
In such circumstance, M-Pesa service promises easy and secured transaction of money for them.
With a subscriber base of 56 lakh, 82,840 retail outlets and 2826 M-Pesa outlets, Vodafone in association with ICICI which has 51 branches in the state holds great promise for easy and convenient money transfer facility in Bihar, Mr Singh said.
Giving details about the service, Mr Sethi and Mr Singh said Vodafone customers need to register themselves to open an “M-Pesa” account. The mobile wallet gets activated immediately. The M-Pesa service is drawing good response in other states like West Bengal and Rajasthan too. The service was initially launched in Kenya in 2007