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Equity taps M-Pesa’s growing network

By | Jan 15th 2010 | 2 min read

By Standard Correspondent

A sweetheart deal between Safaricom and Equity Bank will increase the number of cash withdrawal outlets available for M-Pesa users.

Under the partnership announced by the two yesterday, registered M-Pesa users can now withdraw cash over 24 hours at Equity Bank’s 550 automated teller machines (ATMs).

They can also make repayments on their Equity Bank loans using the money transfer service.

The mobile phone services firm already has a deal with ATM services vendor PesaPoint, allowing M-Pesa withdrawals at its branded cash points.

"Our new partnership with Equity Bank offers a way of dealing with the liquidity challenges customers may experience, when withdrawing money from M-Pesa agents," said Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph.

"They will now have access to their cash countrywide 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he added.

The CEO was, however, quick to note that the new arrangement will not see agents phased out, but will complement their network and improve the quality of the service.

"The partnership will increase the number of access points for M-Pesa customers to withdraw their money," sad Joseph.

Pressure on system

The sheer volume of M-Pesa traffic per second is huge, and sometimes puts pressure on the system.

When that happens, Safaricom sends text messages to users, asking them to wait 10 minutes for the traffic to ease so their transactions can go through.

The popular service has over eight million subscribers, served by 13,300 agents. Since its launch, it has handled over Sh253 billion money transfers.

Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi said the partnership with Safaricom would allow the bank reel in new customers previously excluded from its growing network.

"One does not necessarily need to be an account holder with us to withdraw money."

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