Exploring Trust in Mobile Banking Transactions: The Case of M-PESA in Kenya

  • Date Posted: March 29, 2012
  • Authors: Olga Morawczynski, Gianluca Miscione
  • Organizations: University of Edinburgh
  • Document Types: Evidence or Research
  • Donor Type: Non-Governmental Organization

This report examines how trust can emerge and be sustained in the context of mobile transactions. M-PESA, a mobile banking system in Kenya, will be the focus of this paper. Data will be used from an ethnographic study that was deployed in Kibera—one of Africa’s largest informal settlements. This paper presents research in progress and discusses two main findings. Firstly, interpersonal trust relations between the customers and agents are weak. Customers do not trust the agents with their money. Secondly, the institutional trust relations between the customer and Safaricom, the mobile service provider offering M-PESA, are strong. This means that customers use the M-PESA service because they believe that their money will be kept safe by Safaricom. After providing empirical evidence to substantiate these claims, this study concludes by suggesting questions for future research.