VENTURES AFRICA – Kenya’s telecommunication company Safaricom has launched a mobile payment service campaign, Lipa Na M-Pesa, aiming to establish its payment services as the primary tool for transactions in the region.
Lipa Na M-Pesa, a campaign under the M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money), is aimed at SMEs and will enable consumers to pay for goods and services using mobile money, without incurring transaction charges. Transactions cost will rather be borne by the registered service provider, which have been levied a 1.5 percent commission on the value of every payment made through the system.
Services under the Lipa na M-Pesa campaign include payment of salaries, utility payments, promotional payouts, dividend payments and payments within the transport industry
Mobile money presently accounts for the high levels of financial inclusions (the delivery of financial services at affordable costs to low income segments). This contributed to 57 percent of the Kenyan population gaining access to formal financial platforms.
M-PESA has largely contributed to this growth and is therefore critical to Kenya’s financial inclusion agenda.
One factor that made the M-Pesa an attractive tool for payment is its 17 million customer-base platform, from which the Lipa na M-Pesa has safely been leveraged to woo small scale businesses, particularly traders, into patronizing its system.
“M-Pesa was launched to facilitate the transfer of money from person to person but over the years it has evolved and we now want to mainstream it as a person to business payment solution before ultimately offering business to business solutions” CEO of Safaricom, Bob Collymore said.
“With Lipa Na M-Pesa, our customers now do not have to include the withdrawal charges while making payments,” Mr Collymore Noted.
The service can be used to pay for any transactions valued between $1 and $800.
Safaricom has registered 5000 traders for the Lipa Na M-Pesa service and the CEO says he expects the number to rise to 100,000 by mid 2014.