M-PESA Money-transfer System
Urban workers traditionally send money home to their families in rural villages, but cash makes the process vulnerable to robbery. Since 2007, when Kenya’s M-PESA was launched, recipients can receive money with a simple text message on their mobile phone. The ease, speed, and safety of this mobile money transfer have led to its unprecedented success—over two million users in the first year. The M-PESA (the M is for mobile, and pesa means “money” in Swahili) system includes a grassroots network of over 22,000 agent outlets throughout Kenya, where users exchange M-PESA money for cash. First, a mobile money account is created and linked to the user’s phone number. A menu allows the user to securely send money to any mobile phone subscriber in Kenya, who is added to an M-PESA account and given a code. Using this code and the recipient’s phone number, an M-PESA agent will be able to verify the transaction and pay the correct cash amount.
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