How to send, receive cash across world directly to M-Pesa

When you travel overseas, you will realise just how lucky Kenyans are. Your phone is your wallet – literally! With M-Pesa, you can pay for anything from a hospital bill, salaries, school fees, restaurant bill or contribute to a wedding fundraiser. How cool is that?

In other countries, you either have to use a credit card or local currency. Unfortunately, only 250,000 people own credit cards in Kenya. So what happens when you are overseas and need to send or receive cash ASAP? Can M-Pesa bail you out?

Fortunately, yes. It took long but it was worth the wait.

Safaricom has just launched M-Pesa Global in partnership with Western Union. This means, M-Pesa users can now send and receive money from any part of the world using a mobile phone – it can be a smart or even a feature phone. 

Finally you can breathe a sigh of relief and say goodbye to cumbersome bank transfers processes and expensive bank conversion rates. No more calling banks, sending emails to ask for bank SWIFT codes or waiting for hours because of time zone differences.

M-Pesa Global now allows you to easily send cash up to a maximum of Sh 70,000.

This is how it works:

Using the USSD, type *840#. If you have the mySafaricom App, go to M-Pesa Global within the M-Pesa menu and type in your details.

It will cost you a minimum of Sh 100 for a transaction of up to Sh 5,000 and Sh 500 for remitting offshore more than Sh 35,000.

And there is more. Users can now send money to bank accounts in the UAE, Germany and Britain. The list of countries will grow in the coming weeks, according to Safaricom.

How to withdraw money from Western Union to M-Pesa

Go to the Western Union website and sign in first

Click on ‘Get Started Now’

Choose the country of the recipient where you want the money to be sent. If it’s Kenya then scroll down and choose ‘Kenya’

Indicate the amount you want to transfer. You can send a maximum of 50,000 USD

Choose how your receiver wishes to receive the money. There are three options listed, cash pick up, bank account and mobile wallet. Since we are discussing transfer to the mobile directly you need to choose the ‘mobile wallet’ option

Choose your payment method. There are five options available: Credit/Debit card, Bank account, Wire transfer, Instant bank pay and Pay in-store. Choose the ‘Bank Account’ option

You will be able to see the summary of your transaction

A clear view of the exchange rate, transfer amount, transfer fee and the service time will all be disclosed to you

If you have a promo code, you can use it to earn a discount on your transaction. Just click on the ‘I have a promo code’ tab

You and the receiver will receive a confirmation message to show that the transaction was successful

How to send money from M-Pesa to Western Union

If you are transferring money from M-Pesa to Western Union:

Dial *840#

Accept Terms and Conditions

Follow the prompts to the end

Say you want to send money to a friend in Tanzania from your M-Pesa account. Go to M-Pesa and select Lipa Na M-Pesa. Select Pay Bill and enter business number 255255. Enter recipient's mobile number as account number in the format 2557XXXXXXXX then Enter amount, M-Pesa PIN and confirm the transaction.

You can also go to “M-Pesa Global” under the M-Pesa menu on the mySafaricomApp.

Whether you are in Kenya or overseas, M-Pesa goes with you. There is no reason to panic that you do not have cash. Your mobile wallet will sort you out!