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Kenyans living in the United Arab Emirates and the UK can now send money directly to their friends and family back home through the M-Pesa mobile cash transfer system.
Safaricom has signed a partnership deal with Abu Dhabi-based Xpress Money Services to offer direct cash transfers to M-Pesa customers abroad.
The deal will also benefit its clients in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The service will be rolled out across Xpress Money’s network of more than 150 countries by the end of the year, making it Safaricom’s latest push to win a bigger share of Kenya’s diaspora inflows which grew 10.3 per cent to top Sh110 billion ($1.29 billion) last year.
“Today, an Xpress Money customer can walk into one of our service locations and ask to send money to Kenya using the M-Pesa service and their receivers will get the money on their mobile phone with zero hassle,” said Sudhesh Giriyan, vice-president and business head at Xpress Money.
Xpress Money is currently available in Kenya at Diamond Trust Bank, Dubai Bank and Chase Bank outlets.
The deal takes the battle for control of diaspora cash to the doorstep of commercial banks and forex bureaus which have previously been agents for Xpress Money and other platforms such as MoneyGram and Western Union.
Remittance fees from the UK to Kenya will be £2.99 (Sh440) while transfers from the UAE will be charged AED15 (Sh350). Safaricom is betting on its relatively lower pricing to grow its share of the diaspora remittances commissions.
“Safaricom seeks to provide its subscribers with cost effective and innovative systems that save them time and impact lives positively,” said Betty Mwangi-Thuo, general manager in charge of financial services at Safaricom.
– Business Daily