Kenya’s mobile network operators – Telkom, Safaricom, and Airtel – have announced that subscribers can now make direct mobile money payments to an M-PESA Pay Bill Number from any network. The move follows the telcos’ announcement in April this year, which saw Kenyans being able to make mobile money payments to M-PESA Buy Goods and Services Tills from any network.
The objective of the interoperability of Kenya’s mobile money service platforms is to allow Kenyans to make direct mobile money payments to any M-PESA merchant Pay Bill Number and Merchant Tills, from any network, thereby boosting the adoption and convenience of making cashless payments. The next phase towards complete merchant interoperability will see Kenyans make mobile money payments from M-PESA to the Till and Pay Bill Numbers of the other networks: Airtel Money and T-kash.
(TOP: From left – Airtel Kenya MD Ashish Malhotra; Safaricom’s Interim Chief Financial Services Officer Boniface Mungania; and Telkom Kenya Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer Julius Cheptiony during the launch of Merchant Interoperability Paybill).
The new proposition is also in line with the principles of the National Payments Strategy, 2022 – 2025, that was launched by the Central Bank of Kenya in February this year which seeks to achieve a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations that benefit Kenyans by boosting trust, security, usefulness, choice and innovation.
Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mugo Kibati says: “From our interactive sessions with our customers we have taken note that Kenyans appreciate mobile money solutions better when they keep on finding more reasons to attach value to their mobile wallets, whether they are sending money, paying for goods and services, saving, borrowing or trading. The announcement made today, on Pay Bill interoperability, brings us closer to realising a cashless economy, further enhancing a seamless digital transactions ecosystem that gives the consumer more convenience and choice. Our customers will first be able to access this exciting addition via USSD *160#.”
Safaricom’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa says: “Today’s launch of Pay Bill interoperability between M-PESA, Airtel Money and T-Kash, follows that of ‘Send Money’ and Till interoperability. This innovation extends even more convenience to customers and businesses, transforming M-PESA into a one-stop solution to send and receive money and payments from any financial service locally, and our global partners.”
Airtel Kenya’s CEO, Ashish Malhotra says: “We are excited to be part of this change that seeks to provide Kenyans with an affordable, convenient and secure cashless payments platform that will provide more options that empower customers as they go about their day-to-day economic activity. Our customers can access this service via USSD *222# or *334#.”
The telcos made this announcement at the Muguga Green Primary School, where they each made a payment of Kshs 300,000 into the school’s Pay Bill number from their spokesperson’s respective mobile money wallets. The money, Kshs 900,000, will be used by the school to meet some of its operational needs for the second school term of the year.