Vodafone Albania Brings Down Curtain on M-Pesa

Vodafone Albania is reportedly in the throes of closing down its M-Pesa mobile money service – a move which could affect as many as 250,000 customers in the country.

A notice sent by the operator to its M-Pesa users revealed the service will cease operations on 14 July. Customers will have until 29 July to withdraw any funds lodged with the service from any Vodafone Albania retail store, with the operator waiving transaction charges, RTK Livereported.

While the news service noted Vodafone Albania is yet to offer an official statement regarding the move, it said the information provided to M-Pesa users in the country cited an internal decision for the shutdown.

Such a move is not without precedent. In May 2016 Vodafone’s South African unit Vodacom announced it was discontinuing M-Pesa after a review concluded it was unlikely to achieve a critical mass of users in the country. It was reported at the time the operator had signed up 76,000 users.

The same rationale may apply to Vodafone Albania. The reported number of M-Pesa users in the country represent a fraction of the 2.3 million subscribers GSMA Intelligence reports the operator had at end-Q1 2017.

Vodafone launched M-Pesa in Albania in 2015 as part of a broader strategy to expand availability of the service in Central and Eastern Europe.

Source: MobileWorldLive

 

Safaricom Looks to PhotoID to Curb M-Pesa Fraud

Safaricom is set to give merchants access to photo identification technology in a bid to reduce fraud on its m-Pesa platform, Business Daily reported.

According to the newspaper, Safaricom is already distributing pre-programmed smartphones to m-Pesa agents to verify the identity of customers. These handsets have software built-in to enable verification against images taken when the SIM card was purchased and other nationally held data.

Vendors with the devices will also be required to take images of all new registrants, which will then be stored in a database for verification of future transactions. This is in addition to current procedures, which include recording the new user’s name, ID card number and postal address.

M-Pesa is Kenya’s dominant mobile payment service and become a blueprint for similar services across developing markets. However, its wide usage also made the platform and its users a target for criminals.

In addition to well-documented hacking attempts against the company, there are regular reports in the Kenyan media of scams targeted at users to extort money using the platform.

Announcing the new photo ID scheme, Safaricom corporate affairs director Stephen Chege told the publication the new system of registration would eliminate the use of stolen personal ID to commit fraud.

Source: Mobile World Live