Raiding Safaricom: Will mobile money interoperability kill M-Pesa?

by Njenga Hakeenah
Mobile money penetration exceeds 70% of the population and the country has emerged as a blueprint for financial inclusion

Effective October 4, 2018, M-Pesa and T-kash customers will seamlessly send and receive money directly to and from their mobile wallets.

This comes almost a year after the first phase of the mobile money interoperability began with Safaricom and Airtel.

Kenya has been hailed as a global giant in the financial inclusion space as a result of its vibrant mobile money scene.

Mobile money penetration in Kenya exceeds 70% of the population and the country has emerged as a blueprint for financial inclusion.

With the country embarking on mobile money interoperability, the second decade of the country’s mobile money scene is expected to change heralding a new era for the sector.

Mobile money interoperability was launched in March 2018 by Kenya’s main mobile service operators, Safaricom, Telkom and Airtel.

The three telcos came together to integrate the mobile money ecosystem through mobile money transfer interoperability.

This initiative greatly enhances the customer experience by bridging the different platforms and presenting a seamless experience for sending and receiving money from other from one server to another.

The convenience of wallet to wallet transfer enables customers to receive money sent from another operator directly into their own.

Previously, customers would receive a voucher indicating that a different number from a different operator had sent them money.

As a result of the interoperability, the customer no longer has to struggle with having to cash the voucher within seven days, or consequently have the funds reversed to the sender.

The three providers have committed to maintain the p2p pricing between on net and off net transactions.

This implies that there will be no difference when sending money to another network.

With the advent of interoperability, customers can send and receive money from customers on a different network. The money received from a different network is directly added to the customer’s account balance the same way it would have been sent from the same network.

The benefits of this that the customer can use the money to pay bills, make purchases or make withdrawals from their own network agent.

To enjoy interoperability, the customer must be registered for my Airtel money or M-Pesa.

Those not registered on any mobile money will continue to receive a voucher code.

The first phase of the interoperability began with Airtel and Safaricom and Telkom becomes the second operator to integrate its mobile money platform T-kash to M-Pesa.

To avail a complete ecosystem, the last leg of the mobile money interoperability between Airtel and Telkom will be launched later.

Source – The Exchange



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