Vodafone has teamed up with local HDFC Bank to launch a basic mobile money service called M-Paisa in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is intended as the first stage of a national rollout of the service which is modelled on the successful M-Pesa service offered by Safaricom in Kenya. The partners have put an emphasis on the new service’s possibilities for financial inclusion. The service will be distributed by Vodafone’s retailers who will act as sub-agents for HDFC. M-Paisa includes features such as cash deposit and withdrawal, money transfer and balance enquiries. The operator says the new service is already available in over 2,200 of its retailers in 320 villages and 320 towns in Rajasthan.
The M-Pesa concept is owned by Vodafone and is offered under licence by Safaricom even though the latter’s name is most associated with it. Vodafone also owns a 40 percent stake in Safaricom. Vodafone has previously introduced services modelled on M-Pesa in two other African countries in addition to M-Pesa.