Kenya: Safaricom finally allows Airtel, Telkom customers to use M-Pesa Pay Bill Numbers

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  • Kenya’s leading telcos have signed a landmark deal that will propel the mobile money space in the country
  • Telkom, Safaricom, and Airtel announced that Kenyans can now make direct mobile money payments to an M-PESA Pay Bill number from any network
  • The companies said the move follows their announcement in April 2022, which saw Kenyans being able to make mobile money payments to M-PESA Buy Goods and Services Tills from any network

Kenya’s leading telcos have signed a landmark deal that will propel the mobile money space in the country.

On Friday, July 15, 2022, Telkom, Safaricom, and Airtel signed a deal to allow Kenyans to make direct mobile money payments to an M-PESA Pay Bill number from any network.

In a statement, the telecommunications companies said the move follows their announcement in April 2022, 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.

The proposition is also in line with the principles of the National Payments Strategy, 2022 – 2025, which was launched by the Central Bank of Kenya in February 2022.

The strategy seeks to achieve a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations that benefit Kenyans through trust, security, usefulness, choice and innovation.

Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mugo Kibati said that from their interactive sessions with customers, they 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, 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#,” Kibati said.

Commenting on the same, Safaricom’s CEO, Peter Ndengwa said that the launch of Pay Bill interoperability 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 their global partners.

Airtel Kenya’s CEO, Ashish Malhotra said the move will 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.

The telcos made this announcement at the Muguga Green Primary School, where they each made a payment of KSh 300,000 into the school’s Pay Bill number from their spokesperson’s respective mobile money wallets.

The money, KSh 900,000, will be used by the school to meet some of its operational needs for the second school term of the year.

Equity Group launched a centralised payment solution

In a related story, in January 2022, Equity Group introduced the One Equity Till Number, to enhance the centralisation of digital payment solutions for merchants in Kenya.

The solution was launched to allow merchants to receive payments from multiple payment channels or mobile wallets through a single till number. Merchants can receive payments from customers using M-Pesa, Airtel Money, PesaLink, Equitel and Equity Mobile using One Equity Till Number without having to subscribe to multiple Paybill/ Till numbers for their businesses.

The One Equity Till Number platform would make it easy and convenient for merchants, both small and large businesses, to collect all their payments directly into their bank accounts without having to do several transfers from mobile wallets to bank accounts, since there is no limit to the amount of money a merchant can receive.

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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