Vodafone’s mobile money transfer service M-Pesa has reached the 25 million active customer milestone after encouraging growth in the past year.

The number of customers using the service increased by 27.1 percent to 25.3 million in the 12 months to March.

M-Pesa launched in Albania and Ghana during this time and unveiled a smartphone app in India that enables customers to pay for goods on Ebay and to book train tickets on the country’s national railways.

It also signed a deal with the Ministry of Social Development in Lesotho to pay welfare grants using M-Pesa, while Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture is now paying fertilizer subsidies via the service.

M-Pesa, which is aimed at the unbanked market, is now available in 11 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe.

Launched by Kenya’s Safaricom nine years ago, it is supported by a network of more than 261,000 agents.

[Read more: DOCOMO Digital urges telcos to work together on basic m-payment services]

Vodafone Group Director of Mobile Money, Michael Joseph, said: “Since 2007, M-Pesa has enhanced the lives and livelihoods of people without bank accounts, giving them access to essential financial services through their mobile phones.

“I am delighted and proud that M-Pesa has reached the 25 million active customers milestone.

“M-Pesa continues to expand, evolving beyond traditional money transfers to encompass savings and loans, payment of salaries and benefits, settlement of utility bills and school fees and to enable vital health and agricultural solutions.”

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