Safaricom is to begin offering M-Pesa customers a new mobile banking service, offering interest-bearing deposit accounts and loans.
The telco has partnered with Kenay's largest commercial bank, CBA, to create the account, dubbed M-Shwari, which can be activated on deposits as low as one shilling.
Safaricom CEO Bob Colllymore says M-Shwari will have no ledger fees, no limits on the frequency of withdrawals, no minimum operating balance and no charges on deposits for M-Pesa to M-Shwari accounts.
"You do not need to go to a branch and fill in application forms. Just one click on your phone and you will have a bank account at no cost," he says. "M-Shwari is a groundbreaking financial service innovation that will foster a culture of saving and allow Kenyans with no collateral to access micro-saving and loans products through the convenience of their mobile phones at very competitive terms."
The Central Bank of Kenya and the Kenya Bureau of Statistics estimate that 12 million of the nation's population are unbanked, with vast sums of money circulating outside of the traditional banking system.
M-Schwari is being viewed as a case study for bank-to-telco collaboration in emerging economies, with Safaricom poised to extend the service to other banks and economies in which M-Pesa has a foothold.