Vodafone has launched its mobile money service M-PESA in Albania with an initial investment of more than EUR3m.

The service, which targets aims to target the unbanked and under-banked population, is based on a system of payments and store of value system accessible through mobile phones.

With this service, customers need not require a bank account or any direct relationship with a bank to gain access to money transfer and payment services.

The service will ensure that all transactions are authorised and recorded using SMS and are capped at a maximum value stipulated in the legislation in force for money laundering prevention and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

The M-Pesa account is a PIN-protected secure electronic wallet that offers a 24/7 service, by delivering the speed and convenience to make remote payments and cash retrieval at any time.

Vodafone M-PESA features benefits such as instant access to own money at Agents and when transferred and paid in mobile wallet, cheaper solution as well as accessibility.

Also, customers can register for the new service at all 145 shops and outlets in Albania for free of charge.

Vodafone Albania CEO Dietlof Mare said: "From now on, thanks to M-PESA Service, people living in Albania and especially in rural areas, with or even without bank account will be able to have access to financial services only by using their mobile phones.

"Our strategic goal is to capitalize on Vodafone Albania large mobile telephony services penetration in the country that once again assures and strengthens the role of technology in facilitating economic and financial development of the country."