Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom Tanzania are amongst the first operators in the world to be awarded the new GSMA Mobile Money Certification (MMC), a global industry initiative launched at the GSMA 360 event on 12 April 2018. The M-Pesa service in both countries were independently tested against nearly 300 stringent requirements covering our ability to deliver secure and reliable services that protect the rights of consumers.
M-Pesa launched in Kenya 11 years ago, initially as a way to send money to informal women’s savings groups known as chamas. The service now has over 25 million customers and more than 148,000 agents in the country. M-Pesa is now used for a wide variety of essential transactions, including the payment of household bills and salaries and payment of school fees. In Tanzania, where M-Pesa launched in 2008, there are now over 8 million customers using the service to transfer money, pay bills, take out loans and as a savings account.
In both countries, M-Pesa has allowed people in urban and rural areas to become part of the formal financial system – for example, formal financial inclusion in Tanzania last year was 65%, up from just 44% in 2009.
While the GSMA has set the parameters of the MMC accreditation process, judging whether or not an operator has met the criteria is carried out by an independent body, Alliances Management. Following rigorous testing, the certification is only awarded if a mobile money service meets all of the 291 indicators. The accreditation is valid for three years, after which time our M-Pesa services in Kenya and Tanzania will be reassessed.
Millions of users around the world rely on services like M-Pesa. As mobile money products come of age, it is more important than ever that the industry plays its part to make sure consumers can be confident that the system they use to support their businesses and families is safe, transparent and resilient. That is why we worked closely with the GSMA to deliver the accreditation scheme, and why we are pleased that the first two M-Pesa services submitted to the MMC have been successful.
M-Pesa is also available in six other markets, enabling tens of million people to enhance their lives and improve their livelihoods. For example, more than 10 million women around the world who would otherwise be excluded from conventional banking services now use M-Pesa to access a wide range of transactions, micro-loans and savings and insurance products.
We are now looking to work with our other markets to secure MMC accreditation for M-Pesa wherever it operates, so millions of consumers can be doubly sure their mobile money service is a safe and secure, as well as convenient, option.