The M-Pesa mobile money service has 18.5 million subscribers across Vodafone’s footprint, principally its emerging markets, the company reported in its first-half results.
During the six months to the end of September, the M-Pesa portfolio was enhanced with the introduction of a saving and loans product called M-Pawa, in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa, and a merchant proposition called Lipa Kwa M-Pesa. Both services are available in Tanzania.
The aim is to upsell M-Pesa users with additional services.
The number of M-Pesa users has grown by 16 per cent over the same period in 2013.
The service is most popular in Africa. Vodacom, in which Vodafone holds a 65 per cent stake, reported earlier this week that it added 1.1 million customers in the six month period, increasing its number of active customers to seven million, an increase of 26 per cent from the prior year.
Vodacom said M-Pesa revenue grew 30 per cent and now represents 8.7 per cent of its total service revenue. In 2013, the figure was 7.6 per cent. The service is most popular in Tanzania where 54 per cent of its subscribers use it.
But not everyone has fallen in love with M-Pesa so quickly. After a disappointing initial experience, Vodacom relaunched the service in South Africa several months ago. In its results, the operator said signs are encouraging and M-Pesa is “gaining traction” where before it struggled.
Separately, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said the service now had half a million subscribers in South Africa, according to IT Web.
Vodafone also offers M-Pesa in a number of other markets, including India where it has 400,000 active users.
The company has also started to offer the money service in Europe, including Romania.