M-Pesa users can now send and receive money worldwide

Safaricom has today announced a new partnership with global money transfer company Western Union that will see the two, alongside other players like WorldRemit and HomeSend, join forces to enable their users to send and receive money from almost anywhere they are located in the world.

In a nutshell, the result of the partnership, which sees M-Pesa go global, allows anyone from almost anywhere in the world to send money to M-Pesa users in the country. At the same time, M-Pesa users in the country can send money to people abroad through various channels like the recipient’s bank account number, phone number or one of the half a million Western Union agent outlets scattered across the globe.

“Transfers through bank accounts to the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Germany will also be available immediately, with services to bank accounts in other countries being rolled out in the coming weeks,” a statement from Safaricom reads.

The new service is accessible by dialing *840# on the mobile phones of existing M-Pesa users. The same can be accessed through Safaricom’s mobile application, mySafaricom, which just received an update introducing M-Pesa Global, the M-Pesa platform’s own service tree through which products that have a global focus fall.

Over half a year ago, Safaricom debuted another key component of its global focus: M-Pesa-to-PayPal (and vice-versa).

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The latest development is on the back of several moves regarding Safaricom has made this year in terms of extending the reach of M-Pesa and the benefits it brings its users. Early in the year, Safaricom partnered with Google to allow Android users to buy applications from the latter’s app and content store, Google Play, just months before Google opened up its platform to developers from Kenya to make money by selling apps directly and indirectly (through in-app purchases).

It is worth noting that M-Pesa Global services also have to play by the same rules that local M-Pesa transactions follow. So, no single transaction can exceed Kshs 70,000 and users are limited to a maximum of Kshs 140,000 per day.

Here are how the transaction charges for M-Pesa Global (across all the partners) look like:

Amount (Kshs)Transaction fee (Kshs)
100-5,000100
5,001-15,000250
15,001-35,000350
35,001-70,000500
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