CARE Hack: Mobile Banking

CARE Hack: Mobile Banking

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For many rural communities in developing countries, banks are either unavailable, or too far away.  

In Tanzania, CARE partnered with Vodafone to start M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money), a mobile phone-based money transfer and microfinancing service which allows users to deposit, withdraw and transfer money using a mobile device.

VSLA groups in rural communities began using their M-Pesa accounts on a weekly basis to store cash that otherwise would have remained in the group’s box.

Not only more convenient for those who live a long distance from banks, M-Pesa is popular with savings groups that view the mobile service as a more secure option than leaving their funds in a safe box.


Philip Mwanga, a young M-Pesa agent in Arusha, Tanzania, demonstrates how easy it is to use M-Pesa to make payments. When we explained to him that soon he might be able to link M-Pesa to a bank account, he was ecstatic.