M-Pesa gets digital facelift



Bereng Mpaki

VCL Financial Services, a subsidiary of Vodacom Lesotho, this week unveiled the M-Pesa application for digitized access to the financial services offered by the mobile money platform.

The application was designed to enhance M-Pesa customers’ experience while using the service, providing them with a simple, fun, secure, easily customised and convenient digital solution, the company said.

The application, which customers can download from the Google Play Store, is called My M-Pesa Lesotho, and is available for android smartphone users.

Those without smartphones will however, continue to use the *111# gateway to access their M-Pesa accounts. The app is currently available to existing M-Pesa clients only.

Speaking during the app launch this week, the VCL Financial Services managing director, Palesa Mphunyetsane, said the application comes with a number of benefits that will make it easier for customers to access and use their M-Pesa accounts.

Among others, she said the application would reduce the lengthy steps customers used to go through when accessing their M-Pesa accounts using *111#.

“As technology advances, we are inspired to deliver innovative products and services that will lead to the betterment of our customers and the M-Pesa app is exactly that – a timely response to the current digital shift,” Ms Mphunyetsane said.

“Introducing this smartphone age solution over and above the old menu is a true testament of our commitment to harness the power of technology to put power in the hands of our customers.

“We are constantly aiming to improve our customer service and once again we have paid attention to customers’ needs. We will definitely be adding more features on the application.”

The application is also expected to address the cumbersome process that customers go through to reverse funds sent to wrong recipients. With the application, M-Pesa users can access their mobile phone contacts, pick the appropriate contact that they want to transact with instead of physically punching in the desired number.

“To access our M-Pesa platform customers dial *111# which will reveal the list of services offered. But If you make an error choice, you must start the process from the beginning,” Ms Mphunyetsane said. This will now change with the application.

Customers do not need data in their mobile phones to use the app because it is zero-rated, she said.

Ms Mphunyetsane said their decision to introduce the M-Pesa application was also influenced by the growing smartphone usage among their customers.

“Vodacom has over 800 000 smartphones users, and out of this we have 524 000 customers with M-Pesa accounts. This means we have reached over 63 percent of smart phone penetration.

“This therefore makes it easier for us to offer our customers improved digital services, such as the application.”

On his part, Malatola Phothane, the VCL Financial Services’ commercial manager said the app supports the majority of services offered on the *111# platform.

These include cash withdrawals, sending money, paying merchants, purchasing airtime and paying bills. More services will be added in due course, he said.

With the application, customers can also transact while they are outside the country because it can still function on handsets that do not have a Vodacom sim card. The application uses both Sesotho and English.


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