M-Pesa has a new competitor, and a 10-year head start

The Kenya Bankers Association is trying to catch up to M-Pesa’s runaway success with its own mobile money service, PesaLink.

The consortium of big name banks participating may give the brand some clout, but M-Pesa could be a tough to dislodge.

Launched in 2007 by Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest telecom, M-Pesa has over 25 million users and claims 85 percent of the mobile money market it started; it transacted over $7 billion in the first half of 2016 alone.

The banks are targeting higher-value transactions and offering free transaction up to $5 (versus M-Pesa’s $1).

But M-Pesa retains the loyalty of Kenyans for whom bank accounts were too expensive. When it launched in 2007, more than 80 percent of Kenyans were unbanked.

Photo credit: Kenya Bankers Association

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