Vodacom Tanzania

M-PESA FAQs

1. What is M-PESA?
M-PESA is an innovative money transfer solution that enables customers to send money to any mobile customer in Tanzania via a simple phone transaction.

2. Does I need to have a bank account?
No. M-PESA has been designed so that all mobile customers, especially those without bank accounts, can use it. Your money is held safely in a bank account run by M-PESA on your behalf.

3. Do I need to have a minimum amount in my account like some banks ask for?
No. Your M-PESA account can have as much or as little money in it as you like between zero and Tsh 500,000 at any time.

4. Do I need to pay any service charges for having an M-PESA account?
No. M-PESA charges you every time you do a transaction - refer to the Tariffs section for details. You are not charged for anything other than the transactions you perform.

5. I already have a bank account. Can I access it using M-PESA?
No. M-PESA operates completely separate to any bank account you may have.

6. Can I use my Vodacom airtime to top up my M-PESA account?
No. Your M-PESA account is completely separate from your Vodacom airtime. You cannot buy M-PESA using airtime. However you can use your M-PESA value to buy airtime for your own or another Vodacom subscriber's phone. They do not need to be registered for M-PESA to receive airtime credit from you.

7. Can I top up a prepaid account of any other network in Tanzania?
No. Presently, the only airtime you can buy is for Vodacom Prepaid accounts.

8. What services are available on M-PESA?
Deposit money
Withdraw money
Send money to any mobile customer in Tanzania. This may be another registered M-PESA user (Vodacom only) or an unregistered user (Vodacom or any other mobile network in Tanzania)
Buy Vodacom prepaid airtime for yourself and other Vodacom subscribers
Manage M-PESA account

9. How do customers register for M-PESA?
Fill in a registration form at any authorized M-PESA agent or Vodashop. (Look out for the 'M-PESA Available here' sign). You must be a Vodacom customer, over 18 years of age to register for M-PESA. Registration is easy and FREE of charge. You will need to provide any one of the following acceptable forms of personal identification:
Passport
Pension card
Company ID card
Voters registration card
Letter from a village / ward executive officer that includes a photo of yourself and an official stamp.

10. What are the benefits of M-PESA?
M-PESA allows you to transfer money simply and securely in a few seconds by using SMS. This has many benefits to customers in terms of convenience, security and ease of use. The pricing is competitive compared with other formal money transfer services.

11. How does M-PESA work?
To load money into your M-PESA account you need to go to a registered M-PESA Agent, typically a local network airtime reseller or other retail outlet, and make a cash deposit which results in electronic money moving into your account. You can then send money to another mobile phone user via a phone instruction. When anyone wants to get cash out of their M-PESA account they need to go to an M-PESA agent and make an electronic transfer to the agent who will exchange this for cash.

12. Does M-PESA work across networks?
Only customers who have a Vodacom SIM are able to open an M-PESA account. However the person you are sending money to does not need to have an M-PESA account or be a Vodacom number. The M-PESA service is cheaper if you send money to a registered M-PESA user.

13. Can I use M-PESA if my line is expired?
You cannot use M-PESA if your line is expired since M-PESA is dependent on the Vodacom SMS service. You will be able to use M-PESA to buy airtime, even if your line is expired. This will reactivate your line.

14. What is the difference between a registered M-PESA customer and an unregistered customer? A registered M-PESA customer is able to access the M-PESA services menu by dialing *150#
An unregistered M-PESA user is one who may only receive money from an M-PESA customer and then withdraw cash. He cannot use any other M-PESA services. An unregistered user may belong to Vodacom or any other mobile network.

15. Who are the M-PESA Agents?
M-PESA agents are, generally, Vodacom airtime dealers. However, the range and type of Agent is continuously being extended to maximize coverage and convenience. For example, Agents currently include petrol station chains, supermarkets, cybercaf├ęs, and independent retailers. Most of the Agents from the pilot are M-PESA Agents. At launch there will be in excess of 300 M-PESA Agents across the country. We expect this number to increase significantly as the year progresses.

16. How do I become an M-PESA agent?
Any interested party will need to contact the M-PESA department for vetting and signing of contract so as to become an M-PESA agent may email: M-PESA@vodacom.co.tz

17. What are the charges for M-PESA transactions?
Refer to the M-PESA Tariffs section.

18. What do I do in case of a wrong transfer?
Wrong transfers are reversible on the M-PESA system, upon rigorous vetting of the sender and recipient and if the money has not yet been cashed or withdrawn. If you make an incorrect transaction, please call 15000 for immediate assistance. In exceptional cases we will be able to assist you,

19. Can I buy airtime using M-PESA if my account has expired?
It is possible to buy airtime even if the line is expired. This will reactivate the line.

20. Is it possible to top up unregistered users?
Yes, you can top-up any Vodacom prepaid SIM using your M-PESA account.

21. Can I register for M-PESA if I am not a Vodacom mobile customer?
M-PESA registration is available for Vodacom customers only. If you do not have a Vodacom SIM card, do get one right away!

22. Do I need to do a SIM swap in order to use M-PESA?
No. The M-PESA menu (dial *150#) is available on existing Vodacom SIM cards.

23. What happens if I do not get an SMS from M-PESA confirming the transaction?
On occasion there may be a delay in receiving your SMS from M-PESA. If you do not receive an SMS response with 20 minutes, kindly call M-PESA Customer Care on 15000 who will advise on the status of your transaction on the M-PESA system.

24. What happens if the Vodacom network is down?
As M-PESA relies on SMS messages, if the Vodacom SMS service is down, M-PESA will not function.

25. When will my start key expire?
Start keys do not expire.

26. What happens if I lose my SIM?
You should get a replacement SIM in the usual way. You can use your existing M-PESA PIN to activate the menu on your new SIM.

27. How many times can I change my secret word?
The secret word can only be changed by M-PESA Customer Care.

28. I received my confirmation message with secret word, but the M-PESA menu has not come through.
Use the new PIN you changed to on activation as the current start key then activate/wezesha once more. In the unlikely event that this doesn't work call customer support to generate a new start key, for this activation. Unless some money is deposited, generation of a start key will not be possible.

29. I have a Motorola C113 and can't activate my account?
There are some phones that don't receive the Vodacom menu. In that case, you will need to use another model of phone.

30. Is a photocopy of my passport or ID sufficient to register, or do cash transactions at an Agent?
No. The Agent is obligated to see your original identification document. Driving Licence is not sufficient.

31. I have a 7-digit ID - what will I use to activate?
Add a 0 at the end of the seven-digit number to make it eight digit. In case you have a passport you need to replace the alphabets with zeros. Eg: A34558K will become 34558000

32. Will my transactions be limited to the Agent store where I registered?
No. You will be able to carry out transactions at any M-PESA agent store and not limited to where you registered.

33. What happens if / when I lose my Vodacom SIM?
Call 15000 to have your M-PESA account suspended. Proceed and get a SIM swap to retain your number and activate your SIM as normal using your previous M-PESA PIN you will receive your menu once more to continue enjoying the service. Note that you will need to call customer services to release your account to enable you activate properly.

34. How safe is my money?
Your money is safe since every transaction requires identification in form of a secret PIN. This is enhanced by use of a secret word for any call to Customer Care.

35. I am not receiving SMS confirmation for the transactions I have done.
Your SMS Inbox is full. Delete some SMS to make space for new ones. You have diverted messages to screened messages.

36. Will I be able to repay my bank loan using M-PESA?
No. At present, M-PESA enables you to 'send money home' and buy prepaid airtime. It does not include any financial institution services. Vodacom does intend to extend M-PESA over the coming months to include new services.

37. I am aged 17 years. Why can I not register for M-PESA?
M-PESA is a financial service and is obligated to adhere to BoT regulations that disallow use of the service by legal minors.
  • To call Customer Care, dial 100 on your Vodacom phone.
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