Until we get M-PESA in the United States . . .

Western Union formally announced today its link-up with M-PESA to allow those of us in less developed countries, from an ICT standpoint, to make money transfers to M-PESA accounts.    From the Denver Business Journal:

People in Kenya have a new high-tech way to receive money, thanks to Englewood-based Western Union (NYSE: WU).

The money transfer giant on Thursday announced that consumers now can send money directly to mobile “wallets” in Kenya from 45 countries and territories — the first service of its kind in the world, the company said.

The service will use Western Union’s worldwide network for processing cross-border remittances, as well as M-PESA, a domestic mobile money-transfer service in Kenya that has attracted more than 13.5 million customers since its launch in 2007.

“This service between Western Union and M-PESA shows a huge advancement for money transfer,” said Rebecca Loevenguth, director of strategic alliances for Western Union. “We recognized high mobile penetration in these markets, and a low number of people who used banks. We are adapting to meet customers’ needs through a new channel.”

.  .  .  .

“We’ve been able to reach consumers who lived near our agent locations, but we may have been missing a huge segment that had an M-PESA account but weren’t using Western Union,” she said.

Kenyans use so-called mobile wallets, or money-transfer services, for cellphones, to shop, pay bills, save money and make person-to-person payments, Loevenguth said.

The consumer sends a payment request via an SMS text message and a charge is applied to their online wallet.

The Central Bank of Kenya reports that Kenyans living outside their home country sent $642 million home in 2010 — up from the $609 million in 2009.

I wonder how the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission is coming toward recovery of the share of Safaricom that was diverted to Mobiltelea Ventures Limited?