Mobile phones lift banking reach in Kenya to 67 pct of adults
(Repeating to remove garble)
NAIROBI Oct 31 (Reuters) - Mobile phone-based money transfer services helped raise the percentage of Kenyan adults with access to banking services to 66.7 percent this year from 41 percent in 2009, a financial access survey showed.
The east African nation of 40 million people has led the world in mobile phone-based financial services ever since its largest telecoms operator Safaricom invented a money transfer service called M-Pesa.
M-Pesa has since evolved and now offers interest on deposits and loans of small amounts to users who qualify.
Adults eligible to open and run bank accounts comprise 19.5 million of the population, said the report, issued on Thursday.
"For the vast majority (76 percent) of the rural population, the nearest financial service provider is a mobile money agent," said the report by Financial Sector Deepening Trust Kenya and the central bank.
The proportion of the adult proportion without access to any form of financial services fell to a quarter from a third in 2009, the survey's findings showed. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by James Macharia and Mark Heinrich)
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