M-Pesa, one of the largest mobile payment platforms in Africa, has announced that it has hit the 50 million monthly active users as the payments industry begins to see an upswing in the African region, and more are expected to come in the future.
M-Pesa, where M stands for Mobile and Pesa stands for money, was launched in 2007 as a venture of Vodafone and Safaricom and was one of the first to offer payments through a mobile app. This was instantly a big hit in the African region plagued by infrastructural issues and this kind of payment system helped the company to reach out to users in far regions of the continent who had no access to banking or any kind of financial services. In fact, on many occasions, the use of this app has saved many a family from poverty during tough times and it is this usage that helped it to grow its user base in a very quick manner over the years. It is now available in many countries like Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lesotho, and other countries in this region.
Using this service, the users would be able to send funds to each other and also pay for various services and bills and also be able to transact with merchants and other businesses. The fees charged are also very less which further encouraged the users to adopt this digital platform for making their payments. The platform now also helps to make international transfers and gives access to credit for its users. Over the last 5 years, the platform has doubled its number of active users and the pandemic period has only served to further increase the usage of the app as the users are locked down within their homes and hence prefer to make digital payments for all the services that they access. This platform has also served to bring the underserved into the financial system thus contributing greatly to the growth of the banking sector as well.
Of late, there have been many startups in this space that have been launched in the Africa region and the big players in the payments industry are also eyeing this region as their next region for expansion and M-Pesa is hence likely to face a lot of competition in the coming months but for now, it seems very well placed to take them on.