Xpress Money has partnered with Kenya's Safaricom Ltd. to offer money transfer services through the M-Pesa mobile money platform.

The service will be rolled out in several phases throughout the year, according to a June 18 release.

M-Pesa has over 15 million subscribers in Kenya, and the Xpress Money network has over 170,000 locations in 150 countries. Xpress Money will use HomeSend, a BICS service empowered by eServGlobal, to facilitate transfers on M-Pesa.

Initially M-Pesa will support Xpress Money transfers from the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates and offers a promotional rate to users initiating payments from those regions. An estimated 2.5 million Kenyans who live and work abroad send money home on a regular basis, Safarciom says.

As of February 2014, remittances to Kenya increased 8% on a year-over-year basis to $110.42 million, according to the Central Bank of Kenya.

"Mobile money transfers are the future of the remittance business," says Sudhesh Giriyan, vice president and business head at Xpress Money.

Vodafone, which owns a 40% stake in Safaricom, recently launched M-Pesa in Romania as part of the mobile money service's European push. A separate partnership between Vodafone and Moneygram enabled transfers to M-Pesa users from about 200 countries.

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