Augmenting the m-commerce platform, telecom service provider Vodafone launched its popular mobile money transfer and payment service M-Pesa partnering with private sector ICICI Bank.

With the use of an M-Pesa account, mobile customers in Tamil Nadu and Chennai circles, can deposit and withdraw cash; transfer money to any mobile phone; remit cash to any bank account; and can also make payments to utility bills, Vodafone said in a statement.

The service was launched by Vodafone India, Operations Director (South), Suresh Kumar, Vodafone India, Business-Head, Tamil Nadu and Chennai, Apoorva Mehrotra and Vodafone India, Business Head-M Pesa, Suresh Sethi.

“We are delighted to bring to Tamil Nadu and Chennai, the M-Pesa, a mobile banking service, in partnership with ICICI Bank. M-Pesa, is a safe, secure and convenient service to transfer money and make payments beyond the reach of traditional banking channels,” Mr. Mehrotra said.

Observing that less than five per cent of villages in the country have access to banking services, Vodafone India, Business Head (M-Pesa), Suresh Sethi said: “Financial inclusion is a national priority and we believe that with M-Pesa, we now have the ideal offering to facilitate the same across the country in compliance with applicable regulations.”

The service would be available across 5,103 authorised agents, including 840 Vodafone exclusive stores, in Tamil Nadu, including Chennai.

Vodafone has launched the M-Pesa services in various telecom circles, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh East and Western regions, Bihar.

The service would be made available across the country in a phased manner, the statement added.