When it comes to funding your online sportsbook account to place real money bets on the Internet, M-Pesa has become a popular deposit method for punters from Kenya and a few other African countries. We explain what M-Pesa is and how you can use M-Pesa to safely deposit money to place wagers online.
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M-Pesa is a mobile payment service run by one of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies, Vodafone. It allows mobile owners from Albania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Romania and Tanzania to send and receive money safely using their mobile phone in cash-based economies, reducing the risk of petty theft and street robberies.
The service was first launched in 2007 and has since become one of the most used money transfer services in the world. It can be used for more than just funding online betting accounts – M-Pesa is used to pay bills, transfer money between bank accounts, purchase mobile phone credit and make payments to other mobile users.
How to make online bets using M-Pesa
Although M-Pesa is available in several different countries and currencies, whether you can use it to fund your online sportsbook account will depend on the online gambling laws in your country. It is most widely used in Kenya, where several leading betting sites accept Kenyan players.
Once you have chosen a reputable online bookie that accepts M-Pesa deposits (like any of those recommended in our table above), sign up for an account with the bookmaker by entering your basic personal information like name, address, date of birth and email. In the cashier section, you should find information about the bookies M-Pesa business number.
To deposit money to your online betting account, you will need to visit an authorised M-Pesa retailer in real life. Let the cashier know how much money you want to deposit, give them your mobile number and make the payment using cash. You will be given a unique pin number as a receipt of your payment.
The process for depositing your M-Pesa funds to an online sports betting account can differ slightly, but will typically require you to:
- Use your mobile phone to bring up the M-Pesa menu
- Select ‘pay bill’
- Enter the business number provided by the online bookie
- Enter your online betting account number or username
- Enter the amount you want to deposit, excluding commas
- Enter your M-Pesa pin number and press send
Once your transaction is complete, you will receive an SMS confirming the deposit. Log in to your online betting account and you will be able to see it the money has hit your account. Once the cash has been transferred, you can start placing real money bets on sports and novelty events right away.
M-Pesa benefits and disadvantages
The major benefit of M-Pesa is that is allows players to safely transfer money online. It is a highly trusted payment service, so you can be confident your money is in good hands and will be transferred to your online betting account quickly and securely. M-Pesa payments are processed entirely offline, so there’s no concern about your deposit being intercepted by an unauthorised user or prying eyes. Couple this with the fact that our recommended betting sites are all secured by a minimum of 128-Bit SSL (secure socket layer) encryption and you can rest assured your deposits are protected.
Another advantage of using M-Pesa is that deposits are made in retail outlets using cash, so you can use it even if you don’t have access to a bank account or credit card. This is ideal for cash-based economies where M-Pesa is widely used.
The downside to using M-Pesa is that it’s not a free service and there are some small transaction fees that apply, although the amount of your transaction fee will depend on how much money you are transferring and whether the online bookie is a registered M-Pesa user. M-Pesa isn’t as widely available as more common deposit methods like credit cards or Web wallets, so some punters may struggle to find a reliable betting site that accepts M-Pesa deposits.
If M-Pesa isn’t available in your country or at your chosen sports betting site, read our guide to alternative online betting deposit options.