As an avid user of Safaricom and its wide consortium of products like call and SMS services, data bundles and home fibre I can attest that I appreciate none more than M-Pesa. Before the product, so many things were at a standstill. However, since its formation in 2007, the company has worked hard on the product so much so that the future looks so bright for it.
M-Pesa: The Past, Present and Future
The initial concept of M-Pesa was to create a service that would allow microfinance borrowers to conveniently receive and repay loans using the network of Safaricom airtime resellers.
At first, the product came to us as a peer to peer payment platform. Meaning you could only just send money to someone else from account to account. After this, there was an introduction of agents where you could send and withdraw money from.
The step was revolutionary but seeing as agents were not always available, especially after hours. To overcome this challenge, Safaricom and PesaPoint entered into a partnership.
It allowed M-PESA users to withdraw money from PesaPoint ATMs directly on their Safaricom line. No ATM Cards are necessary for the PesaPoint withdrawals.
Then followed the introduction of Lipa Na M-Pesa, including M-Pesa Xpress which does an STK push. This move made a huge difference as people no longer needed to carry money.
I could go to the shop with just my phone, do my shopping, Lipa Na M-Pesa and move on. This took M-Pesa to new heights with myriads of people and businesses using these features on a daily. The service has turned into an enabler for thousands of entrepreneurs.
Technically speaking, businesses can reach thousands of customers, increase their sales and have increased visibility thanks to Lipa Na MPESA. As for customers, you get a little bit of peace of mind knowing you can potentially complete your payment tasks wherever you are and at whatever time.
It wasn’t only about money. Services are of key importance to M-Pesa and so they added Kenya Power to the mix. Safaricom partnered with Kenya Power to allow customers to pay their electricity bills via M-PESA. Other services included:
- Lipa Karo: receive school fees via M-PESA.
- M-Ticketing: book and pay for tickets to concerts, events, galas, and even sports activities
- Lipa Kodi: property owners collect rent
- Linda Jamii: Medical insurance
- Okoa Stima
- KCB M-Pesa
Soon after, M-Pesa made its global mark creating partnerships with other global brands like PayPal M-Pesa and with Google that allows people to buy apps using M-Pesa.
Safaricom and Western Union also signed an agreement that allowed M-PESA’s 13.5 million customers to receive international money transfers from 45 countries and territories. This is including the U.S, Canada, Italy and the U.K.
MoneyGram also took the step to partner with M-PESA on International Money Transfer. This enabled consumers in over 90 countries to send money directly to M-PESA customers.
With such a huge presence, they had to step up their app game now. Moving from sim card settings to its own stand-alone mySafaricom app meant big moves for the product.
This year has seen so many updates to it and now people can now use M-Pesa without a SIM card on their phones. This is one of the clearer signs that could mean M-Pesa is here for the long haul. Essentially, it could be a standalone financial transfer service to compete with CashApp, PayPal and the likes.
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As we said earlier, there’s a pretty bright future for the company. The CEO Peter Ndegwa has announced a different strategy set to put them above the rest. The announcement of the new Managing Director for M-Pesa Africa, Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, is evidence of the future of M-Pesa.
The aim is to initiate the relevant talent sourcing processes to identify and appoint the next Financial Services leaders in due course. He is also in charge of New Business Ventures, Product Management & Development for both Consumer and Enterprise. In short, you can expect a lot from the new management and M-Pesa as a whole.