Cash In, Cash Out Kenya: The Role of M-PESA In The Lives Of Low-Income…

Author: Stuart, Guy, Monique Cohen Publication Type: Report/White paper Publication Date: Sep 2011 Publisher/Journal: The IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, College Park and Microfinance Opportunities Publication language: English Abstract: This study examines how low-income Kenyans use M-PESA, that country’s pioneering mMoney service. The study focuses on (1) the value of M-PESA to low-income individuals; (2) the most likely areas for M-PESA’s future growth; and (3) whether M-PESA can serve as a platform for financial services beyond remittances.Taken from the transactions of 92 individuals over eight months, the study found that “cash is king.” mMoney’s share of transactions was less than 6 percent, compared to more that 94 percent for cash. M-PESA is still primarily used to send money home, usually from urban to rural, and cash out almost always happens quickly, often the same day the remittance is received. Respondents did not appear to use M-PESA as a de facto savings account, but the services was an important part of their coping strategies for unusual large expenses, particularly hospital bills.The study looks at ways M-PESA usage mimic cash usage patterns. It also examines the “e-money loop” – the number of times an e-money unit is transferred between being cashed out.

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Cash In, Cash Out Kenya: The Role of M-PESA In The Lives Of Low-Income…