CARE Knows How to Make Mobile Phones into ATMs

CARE Knows How to Make Mobile Phones into ATMs

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.

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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.