For the longest while, tech-savvy Kenyans have desired to be able to purchase apps on Google Play Store via M-Pesa but that has not been possible. Admittedly, Kenyans are not the biggest fans of paying for services and apps fall under this category. Even for those who wanted to purchase apps, the credit/debit card requirement has always deterred many from doing so.
Surprisingly, Google has quietly enabled M-Pesa Xpress payments on the Google Play Store. This means that users can now purchase apps on the store and they will be charged directly to their M-Pesa. If it’s not yet obvious, the service only works on Android and it’s limited to Safaricom subscribers.
To set it up, simply open Google Play Store:
- Go to Account
- Select payment options
- Under this menu, you will see M-Pesa Xpress
Once you confirm you have M-Pesa Xpress payment option:
- Head over to an app you want to purchase
- Tap on the price tag
- Ensure that your payment method is set to M-Pesa Xpress (if you have not set up any other method of payment method, M-Pesa Xpress will be set as default payment method)
- Tap on Buy. A pop-up window will appear on your screen and you will be prompted to enter your M-Pesa PIN
- Once successful, you will receive a notification regarding the payment from Google and M-Pesa
Kindly note that M-Pesa transaction charges apply, so that could be a deal breaker for some of you. We have also realised that the M-Pesa option does not appear for everyone yet, so if you don’t have it, be patient.
This new development has us excited, next, we hope to see Google allow Kenyan Developers to hold merchant accounts.
Update: Those with Dual SIM devices will have to deactivate their second SIM and leave just the Safaricom SIM active for the payment to process.