Safaricom have extended the registration deadline for m-pesa divided payments via cell phone to today – October 15. Over 465,000 of their shareholders own less than 1,000 shares, and will get a dividend payment of less than 100 shillings ($1.31), with most in this category likely to get about shillings, assuming they have not bought any shares since the IPO allocations.
All this brings up the question that has been asked several times, most recently by research group – CGAP in the blog post cell phone bank accounts as an incentive to save money. If you compare holding cash in an m-pesa account, you are able to gain comparable benefits to low cost bank accounts offered at several leading local banks – and can use banks for those services that M-pesa or Zap (from Zain) don’t have e.g. withdraw cash via m-pesa, and go to Equity Bank and buy a banker’s cheque for 50/=
Benefits of m-pesa banking
– 24 hour banking: More reach & access than any bank or ATM network
– Mobile banking with operator tends to be cheaper then mobile banking via bank provided services
– Saving in transport costs and banking transaction costs
– Can pay a variety of bills for utilities at a low cost
Challenges of m-pesa banking
– Lack of float at dealers to transact/occasional mpesa system downtime
– No credit history; and the clumsy expensive statement from Safaricom not useful yet
– Calls for discipline to build savings
– Funds are not insured, and are more prone to crime. And dealing with a stolen phone in Kenya is not a pleasant experience.
Anyone tried to use m-pesa as their main bank a/c?