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KIKUYU, Kenya (AFP) - Eyeing his cell phone with a mixture of suspicion and amazement, Paul Kangethe reads and rereads the text message he has just received.
"I've never seen anything like this before," Kangethe says of the alert that instructs him to report to the nearest cell phone shop to retrieve money his brother-in-law sent him just moments ago.
Kangethe is one of more than 65,000 registered users of M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer system recently introduced by Safaricom, Kenya's leading mobile operator, that enables people with access to a cell phone to send and receive money over their handsets in an African first.
"I used to send money through the bank, (but) there are so many procedures that take a long time and often my family has to travel a very great distance to get to a bank, but mobile phones are everywhere," says Zackayo Masinga, a small business owner in the Kenyan capital.
The fees for sending and withdrawing run up to 170 shillings (2.55 dollars, 1.89 euros), a mere fraction of the cost charged by other money transfer agencies, which ask for up to 10 percent of the amount being sent.
But with more than 1,000 new users enrolling daily, Safaricom is confident enough to kickstart efforts in conjuction with Vodafone, which owns 35 percent of the Kenyan telecom, to begin international transfers with the United Kingdom.
"This is not just cutting edge for Kenya or Africa, this service is pretty cutting edge for the world," FSDK's Pulver said.
Last edited by ducestecum on Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
Scam Patroller Baiting Guru
Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:59 pm
Yeah, that phone money service was first mentioned earlier in the year, Mr Fishe posted about it on March:
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