Safaricom has signed an agreement to provide the M-Pesa service in collaboration with Union Bank
Safaricom M-Pesa Mobile Financial Services Private Limited Liability Company, which recently received a license from the National Bank of Ethiopia to provide digital banking services, signed an agreement to work with United Bank.
On July 31, 2023, Safaricom Ethiopia signed an agreement to cooperate with United Bank in Ethiopia to use its M-Pesa digital banking service, which it has expanded in Kenya and eight other countries.
According to this agreement, Safaricom’s M-Pesa service will enable its customers to withdraw and deposit money using United Bank branches.
United Bank acts as Safaricom M-Pesa’s top agent, and it has been stated that they have completed the necessary infrastructure for this service.
What is the reflect of union Bank on the signed agreement and M-Pesa service ?
Regarding the agreement United Bank CEO Melaku Kebede stated that the agreement reached between Safaricom and United Bank will allow for the provision of complete M-Pesa services, thereby enabling the provision of small loans in addition to the usual services of depositing and withdrawing money using the bank’s branches.
Safaricom M-Pesa brings new services to the industry, so the agreement will enable the bank’s customers to easily use these new services, according to Mr. Melaku. Safaricom’s wallet account customers will also be able to access the services provided by United Bank Mobile Banking, according to the explanation given in the agreement.
M-Pesa’s wallet account has a service where customers can deposit and transfer money only through mobile phones, so it will create an opportunity for them to work together, Mr. Melaku said.
Currently, more than one million United Bank customers use mobile services, so it is said that it will help the bank’s customers to get more services through M-Pesa.
This agreement is specifically for mobile banking and agent banking services. Since Safaricom is ready to provide a wide range of digital financial services in Ethiopia, its agreement with United Bank will help achieve this plan. But above all, the agreement of the two companies will contribute significantly to expanding access to finance in Ethiopia and reaching areas without access to finance and it is believed to bring about a positive change in the country’s financial industry.
Mr. Melaku, who gave a further explanation regarding the potential importance in terms of access to finance, explained that, for example, if there is no bank branch in a rural town, it is possible to provide financial services through M-Pesa agents.
He also mentioned that various shops and similar commercial establishments will be an agent of Safaricom’s M-Pesa service, which will create an opportunity for them to earn extra income besides their regular work.
The chief executive explained that it is possible to expand the reach of the bank by using M-Pesa agents in areas where the bank does not have branches. In this regard, M-Pesa is expected to be implemented in Ethiopia, which was successful in Kenya.
Referring to the agreement, the Interim Manager of Safaricom M-Pesa, Mr. Paul Kavavu, stated that the agreement with United Bank is strategic.
He said that they will be able to provide digital banking services to their customers and allow them to deposit and withdraw money from any branch of United Bank. He also mentioned that they will expand M-Pesa services by making such agreements with other financial institutions.
Mr. Melaku mentioned that M-Pesa has more than 100,000 agents in Kenya, and the work they do in Ethiopia is similar in terms of expanding access to finance. Even in rural areas where it is not possible to open a branch, agents can be created to replace the branches and provide the service.
“We have operated 475 branches for the past 25 years,” said Mr. Melaku, adding that it is impossible to open branches and install ATMs in all rural areas of the country. Therefore, the proliferation of these agents may change the focus on branching.
Explaining that it is a good example that the number of agents in Kenya is increasing, opening a branch is a good example.
It is said that these agents will easily do the work of receiving and giving money where the branches are located.
Therefore, in terms of expanding agents, since Safaricom has been doing a lot since the beginning and has created thousands of agents, it can be understood from the explanation given that the Ethiopian service is expected to be effective.
It is said that the expansion of agents will be especially preferable in terms of providing small loans and will expand the credit services that few have received.
“Financial access is a citizen’s right,” said Mr. Melaku, but this type of network is expanding not only Safaricom but also Ethio Telecom, and it will greatly expand financial access.
The executive did not pass without mentioning Both Safaricom and Ethio Telecom are required to produce hundreds of thousands of agents.
Ato Melaku mentioned that most of the seven main pillars of United Bank’s strategic document are related to technology and innovation, from this point of view, an agreement to work together with Ethiopian Airlines and Ethio Telecom has been signed so far; there is also a similar agreement with the Ministry of Revenue regarding tax revenue. the bank is also working on such agreements with fintech companies
Mr. Melaku, who mentioned that the arrival of both telecom and fintech is a good opportunity for the banking industry, believes that working together will change a lot of things. He also explained that it is useful in terms of expanding the business. And that the banks’ willingness of working together if another telecom enters the market,
In addition to the benefit of this agreement listed above M-Pesa will be a digital payment method for international payments and assist the international transaction.