Vodafone announced the official launch of its m-payment service M-Pesa by its Romanian division, Vodafone Romania. The service, first launched in Africa, will offer mobile money transfer and payment services to the approximately 7 million Romanians who do their business mainly in cash. The service also offers customers with bank accounts the convenience of being able to access and transfer money via their mobile phones. M-Pesa, which is based on text-messaging technology, operates over any of Vodafone Romania’s mobile network connections, including 4G. Romanian M-Pesa customers will be able to transfer between RON 1 (US $0.31) and RON 30,000 (US $9,300) per day.
The m-payment phenomenon took off in the developing world, where there are many unbanked customers, but it is spreading to more developed economies. M-Pesa, the most advanced m-payment system, to date has been implemented in Africa, South Asia and South Africa. Romania, a relatively cash-oriented European country, is the logical next place for it to be offered. If the service succeeds there, more widespread European deployment can be expected.