Mobile money solutions like m-pesa are big business in East Africa, but have had slower uptake down south. Vodacom recently relaunched M-Pesa in South Africa in an effort to change this. Now the mobile operator has announced that the latest version of its M-Pesa can be used to pay staff salaries and settle expense claims.
According to Vodacom, m-pesa offers a “low-cost and easy solution for making payments to all staff, even those who don’t have a bank account”. The South African version of the service also offers users the option of linking their M-Pesa mobile wallet to a Visa card, which can then be swiped to pay for goods or services or used to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Future Force Fields Solutions has been using the service to pay salaries and expenses to roughly 800 staff members countrywide. “Previously, we had a lot of problems transferring to bank accounts and also took a bit of a risk when making cash payments. By moving to Vodacom M-Pesa, our staff get paid via their mobile phones. They also have debit cards so they can access their funds at various retail outlets and automatic teller machines throughout South Africa,” says Tracy Lipworth, GM at Future Force Fields Solutions.
“Not everyone has a bank account, and this certainly isn’t a unique challenge facing Future Force Fields Solutions. We’ve found that M-Pesa is a simple and extremely user-friendly way for us to pay all staff regardless of their circumstances.”
Lipworth says she says the solutions has “huge potential” for industries like agriculture where seasonal workers are commonplace, and for settling ad-hoc expense claims like toll and parking fees.
Employers wanting to use the service to pay staff can load M-Pesa as a payment beneficiary, transfer funds in bulk, and then may payments to staff using their mobile phone numbers. Staff can, in turn, transfer money from their mobile phones to other mobile phone users.
M-Pesa’s enjoyed runaway success in Kenya and has a growing user base in Tanzania and Mozambique. The next logical step is for Vodacom to enable cross-border transfers, and something Lipworth says she hoping comes to pass because her company is eager to expand its operations into neighbouring countries.
Find out more on Vodacom’s dedicated M-Pesa page.