Saving Money with M-PESA
M-Pesa, a widely popular mobile money service in Kenya, enables users to send and receive money, pay bills, purchase airtime, and access other financial services through their phones.
With over 40 million active users and 200,000 agents, M-Pesa is a highly effective tool for budgeting and saving money for emergencies, specific goals, or future investments.
This guide will explore how M-Pesa can be utilized to save money securely and efficiently. Before diving into the various methods, let’s understand the basics of M-Pesa.
Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator, introduced M-PESA in 2007.
The term M-PESA, which means mobile money or mobile payment in Swahili, refers to an electronic account linked to a Safaricom SIM card.
Users can deposit and withdraw money from their M-PESA accounts at any of the 600,000 authorized agents across the country.
M-PESA also enables users to transfer funds to other customers or mobile money users on different networks and receive funds from international remittance providers.
Moreover, M-PESA can be used to pay for goods and services at participating businesses and offers access to financial services like loans, savings, insurance, and investments.
Using M-PESA for Saving Money
M-PESA offers various tools and features that can help users save money effectively. Here are some popular methods:
M-Shwari: This service allows M-Pesa users to save and borrow money. Users can open a free M-Shwari account by dialing *334# on their phones and deposit funds to earn an annual interest rate of 6.65%.
M-Shwari also offers loans based on credit scores and repayment history, with loan amounts ranging from Ksh 100 to Ksh 50,000.
M-PESA Lock Savings Account: By dialing *334#, users can open a lock savings account, choose an amount to save (between Ksh 500 and Ksh 100,000), and select a duration (from one to six months). The account offers an annual interest rate of 6%, compounded monthly. Early withdrawals incur a 1% penalty fee.
KCB M-PESA: In partnership with KCB Bank, this service allows users to save money and access loans via their M-PESA accounts. Users can transfer funds and earn an annual interest rate of 6%. Loans are available based on credit scores and repayment history, with amounts ranging from Ksh 50 to Ksh 1 million and repayment terms from one to twelve months.
Fuliza: This overdraft facility can be accessed by dialing *234# and is available when users have insufficient funds for a transaction. Fuliza can be used to pay for goods and services or send money to other M-Pesa users. The overdraft must be repaid within 30 days, along with a daily fee of 1% of the outstanding balance.
Set Savings Goals: Users can set specific, attainable savings goals and track their progress using the M-PESA or MySafaricom apps. Reminders and notifications can be set up to help users stay on track.
M-PESA Chama Account: This account allows users to manage savings groups, or chamas, with their M-Pesa accounts. Users can start a group, invite members, collect contributions, issue loans, and view reports via their phones.
Tracking Expenses with M-PESA
Tracking and managing expenses is crucial for successful saving. M-PESA offers several ways to monitor and reduce expenses, helping users increase their savings:
Pay for goods and services using M-PESA: Users can pay at thousands of merchants across the country using M-PESA instead of cash or cards. This helps save money by avoiding transaction fees, ATM charges, and fraud risks. Partnering shops also offer discounts and rewards. To pay with M-PESA, dial *334# and follow the instructions or scan the QR code using the M-PESA or MySafaricom apps. This creates a paper trail, allowing users to track expenses via a mini-statement available on request from Safaricom.
Use M-PESA Global for international transactions: M-PESA Global enables users to send money to over 200 countries and receive money from more than 50 countries using their M-PESA accounts. Users can also withdraw money from any Western Union agent or ATM worldwide. To access M-PESA Global, dial *840# or 3342# and follow the instructions. This feature allows users to manage multiple financial sources while maintaining a paper trail for tracking expenses.
In Conclusion The methods outlined in this guide are just a few ways M-PESA can be used to enhance financial security and save money. M-PESA is more than a mobile money service; it is a powerful tool for realizing financial goals. Start saving with M-PESA today and experience the benefits for yourself.