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Vodafone Kenya has 175,000 mobile payment users

What started out as a mobile microfinance project has taken off phenomenally well as a mobile payments service. Nice one Vodafone.

Link: Cellphones may take banking to the rural poor in the third world – International Herald Tribune

When Vodafone began a pilot microfinance project in Kenya in 2003 using mobile phones, said Nick Hughes, head of international payment services for Vodafone, “the idea was to reduce the cost of loan disbursal and recovery.”

“But what we found was that customers were using it for person-to-person transfers” of money in addition to making loan payments.

As a result, three months ago, the company introduced a commercial program in Kenya to make payments possible by cellphone. Customer use has grown. “We’ve passed the 175,000 mark,” Hughes said, “and they’re signing up at about 2,500 a day.”

If it’s working well in Kenya, I’d imagine it would work really, really well in the UK too. I’d like to be able to do this along the lines of how Anam’s service works.

Check out the rest of the IHT’s coverage at the link above for a lot more on what’s going on in Kenya.

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