Hyderabad: As part of its plans to promote its mobile payment solution m-pesa, Vodafone is working on roping in kirana stores to act as payment banks a move that could also lead to financial inclusion.“Only five per cent villages in India have a bank’s branch. There is an average of 11 branches per lakh population in the rural areas, indicating a huge deficit. Through m-pesa, we plan to cover these unbanked areas with our 1.8 million outlets and would also be readying kirana stores for this purpose,” said Mr Suresh Sethi, Vodafone business head for m-pesa.
m-Pesa is an e-wallet, which allows the customer to transact without using cash and also transfer money to distant locations. Vodafone is working with entities in FMCG sector, etc., and is open to work with SMEs.
The company has partnered with WaterHealth India (WHIN), subsidiary of a US firm, which works in providing purified drinking water in rural areas at affordable costs to rationalise their cash collection.WHIN COO Vikas Shah said, “It was a tough task collecting money from households in the rural areas and transferring it to bank accounts.
The employees were looted several times in this process. With this partnership, the money collected from households will be deposited in the company’s m-pesa account at the nearest Vodafone outlet, which will be then be withdrawn by the company after paying a minimum charge at any other outlet.”...