South African mobile operator Vodacom has relaunched its mobile financial platform, dubbed m-pesa, in its domestic market, following encouraging take-up in Tanzania and Kenya. According to a press statement, ‘Vodacom introduced m-pesa to South Africa in 2010 and while the initial take up was strong, with more than one million people signing up, it has not so far enjoyed the overwhelming uptake seen in markets like Kenya and Tanzania.’
The revamped service has been designed to offer improved functionality and ease of registration and will benefit from a revamped distribution channel consisting of 8,000 agents, compared to around 800 in 2010. Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said that the company plans an aggressive rollout, targeting as many as 30,000 retail outlets before the end of 2014.
Vodacom has also reportedly partnered with Bidvest Bank and Visa, which has allowed it to add new functionality to the platform in order to address what Vodacom calls ‘the specific needs’ of the South African market. As such, it has ended its agreement with Nedbank, which was its launch partner for m-Pesa in 2010. The new m-pesa service offers customers a chip-and-pin Visa card and a voucher system to upload cash; an m-pesa Visa card gives customers access to 27,000 ATMs and 240,000 merchants.