CBK Puts An End To Free Mobile Money Transfers

Image courtesy The Standard

After weeks of expectation from telcos, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has officially suspended the zero-rating order for mobile money transactions under KES 1,000.

According to the CBK, the measure will not be extended anymore meaning that customers will be required to furnish the transfers with transaction fees. The decision also comes a couple of weeks after Safaricom expressed its desire to have the waivers to not be extended.

However, the fees will not be the same as CBK and payment partners have started revising the current mobile money transaction fees. This was expected though since Safaricom had hinted its plans to adjust transaction fees. 

“This has been a tough period for businesses and our customers and we committed ourselves to walk through this journey together. During this period, we took several initiatives to support our customers and the government to pull through this pandemic,” said Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

It is not clear what the charges will be once they are revised but transfers under KES 100 will be free as of 2021. Additionally, mobile money-to-bank transactions are set to be free as well.

In its announcing statement, CBK wrote:

CBK has reassessed the emergency measures with the objective of consolidating the gains made so far and also facilitate a transition towards sustainable growth of the mobile money ecosystem. Following consultations with Payment Service Providers (PSPs), CBK will allow the emergency measures to expire on December 31, 2020, and PSPs will introduce revised pricing structures from January 1, 2021, with the following elements:

  1. There will be no charge for person-to-person transfers of up to Ksh.100 to any customer and network.
  2. There will be no charges for transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
  3. To facilitate the integration of Savings and Credit Societies (SACCOs) with the mobile money ecosystem, SACCOs regulated by the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) may levy a charge for transfers between SACCO accounts and mobile money wallets. CBK will oversee these charges in the context of the products that banks and PSPs offer to SACCOs.
  4. Going forward, PSPs will propose pricing structures that reflect the “Pricing Principles” that CBK has introduced. These “Principles” aim to support the development of an efficient, safe, and stable payments and mobile money ecosystem where the customer and public interests are adequately protected. It is noted that the wallet and transaction limits that were announced on March 16, 2020, will remain in force as was communicated earlier. CBK will continue to monitor developments in the payments ecosystem and take any necessary actions.

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