There is this regulation that the government wants to implement requiring money transfer services operated by the telecos to be incorporated as separate companies.
There is also the issue of competition which is growing slowly on M-PESA especially on the transfers from diaspora. We have NationHela and M-Hela that seem to have set better diaspora remittance mechanisms compared to M-PESA.
Another issue that M-PESA needs to deal with is the reluctance of other economies especially those in the developed world to buy into mobile money platform away from a Bank. Selling M-PESA to South Africans hasn’t been a joy ride for Vodafone and MTN.
Finally there is the issue of the need for M-PESA to partner with banks such I&M, CBA, Equity and now KCB to provide banking services to the numerous un-banked population in the country.
I hold to the opinion that the one stop solution that would allow M-PESA to conveniently provide all the demanded services from it is to transform itself into a Bank.
There are a lot of limits imposed on M-PESA which include the limits on transactions a customer can do per day and the balance that can be held on an M-PESA account. These limits against customer needs of having “unlimited” access to M-PESA services is what has prompted banks such CBA to come up with products that ride on M-PESA. But if M-PESA itself was a bank, it won’t need M-PESA Bank Partnership.
The I&M M-PESA partnership is one that few know about. This partnership seeks to provide M-PESA customers with Debit Visa cards. The beauty of an M-PESA Debit Visa card means that one can do purchases with M-PESA virtually with anyone who accepts Visa cards. But for some reason this has not promoted as accepted. If M-PESA was a Bank, they could easily give both Debit and Credit cards without restrictions.
There is also the other issue where the other telecos want to access M-PESA for their own money transfer services. M-PESA as a Bank will ensure that the telecos request is easily implemented. This will also open up M-PESA Bank to enter into new territories. For example M-PESA Bank can open a branch in Malawi, and as part of its services to customers, it ensures that customers have the M-PESA menu in their mobile phones, whichever mobile service provider the customer uses, that they can use to deposit and withdraw money from any M-PESA Bank Branch. Better still, M-PESA Bank could easily partner with other Banks in countries that it doesn’t have branches in to offer the M-PESA menu on major telecos platforms in those countries. This way it would be easier to penetrate the countries that have not bought it M-PESA ideology.
M-PESA as a bank would also mean it can easily venture into all Banking and Money Transfer services anywhere. People will be able to do money wire, deposit large sums of money, and make “unlimited” withdrawals. But to withdraw through mobile phones and ATMs the current limits will still hold.
Diaspora remittance will also be easier. M-PESA won’t need to partner with Western Union but through money wire, or through deposits with Banks that M-PESA Bank has partnered with, or through Internet Banking, M-PESA can easily ensure faster remittance of money to receipients within minutes. The beauty of an M-PESA Bank Account would be that the balance is immediately reflected on the recipient’s phone which can immediately be withdrawn at an M-PESA agent (Bank Branch).
M-PESA Bank, a Bank that operates affordable Banking and Money Transfer Services. One quick question, why can’t banks provide Western Union services instead they choose to be Western Union Agents?