Romania is the first European country to experience Vodafone’s M-Pesa service, after the operator’s launch of the m-payments venture today (31 March).
Approximately six million Romanians can now activate M-Pesa, which claims to offer simple, safe and secure mobile money transfer and payment services.
Operating on any of Vodafone’s mobile network connections, including 4G LTE, the text-based service offers banked customers the chance to access and transfer money via their mobile phones.
Customers can also top up pre-pay airtime, pay utility bills, make a deposit, withdraw cash from participating agents and purchase goods.
According to Vodafone, Romanians transact mainly in cash. The operator said customers will be able to transfer as little as one new Romanian leu (0.22 euro cents) up to 30,000 lei (€6,715) per day.
“The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one third of the population do not have access to conventional banking,” commented Vodafone Director of Mobile Money Michael Joseph.
“Vodafone M-Pesa is already used regularly by nearly 17 million customers and we look forward to bringing the significant benefits of the service to the people of Romania.”
Around 300 Vodafone Romania stores and participating retail outlets offer the service today. This will be extended to other parts of the country, comprising a total of 2,000 retail and distribution points of presence by the end of 2014.
M-Pesa was launched in 2007 and is operated by Kenyan operator Safaricom in which Vodafone has a 40 percent stake.
It has launched in Egypt, India, Lesotho and Mozambique over the past 12 months.
Vodafone said M-Pesa customers make in excess of €900 million worth of person-to-person transactions per month.