Our cellphones will soon be worth a whole lot more than we paid for them. Western Union has started offering an option where you can send money to Kenya via your mobile phone using M-Pesa. This is a great example of mobile transaction services.
In March of 2007 Safaricom Ltd., a Kenyan network operator partially owned by Vodafone, launched the M-Pesa service, which lets Kenyans to transfer money domestically via text message. Today more than 4 million of Safaricom’s 10 million customers use the service, Vodafone said. Western Union will be offering the service, domestically, in the United States through Radioshack and Trumpet Mobile.
The pilot only applies to Redding, UK to Kenya — people will soon be able to visit select Western Union agent locations in Redding and send funds directly to a Safaricom/M-PESA subscriber in Kenya. The pilot isn’t yet live, but when it is, customers will be able to designate a recipient phone in Kenya and the transfer will typically be completed within minutes. Recipients will be able to withdraw the cash at any of 4,000 M-Pesa agents or forward it to another handset in Kenya.