On Thursday, Kenya’s mobile network operators Telkom, Safaricom, and Airtel announced that Kenyans can now make direct mobile money payments to an M-PESA Pay Bill Number from any network.
This move follows the telco’s announcement in April this year which allowed Kenyans to make mobile money payments to a Lipa Na M-PESA Buy Goods Till, from any of the three networks. It was exclusively applicable to Lipa Na M-PESA Buy Goods and excluded PayBills.
In February this year, the Central Bank of Kenya adopted the National Payments Strategy, 2022 – 2025, which seeks to achieve a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations.
Safaricom’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa lauded the latest phase saying: “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.”
Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mugo Kibati said: “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 on PayBill interoperability today 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#.”
Airtel Kenya’s CEO, Ashish Malhotra stated: “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#.”
CBK has been pushing to imitate the linkage between Airtel Money and M-Pesa that was introduced four years ago. Through merchant interoperability, the apex bank seeks to achieve a faster, more affordable, secure, and convenient alternative to cash payments and also eliminate the hassle of transferring money across networks, before making payments.