For quite sometime now developers have been on Safaricom’s case over the release of the M-pesa API. Monday evening, Safaricom held an event called Safaricom Engage for developers at the iHub where they announced the API is finally available. Ken Okwero, Head of product and services development acknowledged that the API is already in use with selected partners and that developers can finally apply to use it.
The release of the API follows the retirement of the initial M-pesa build following the migration of its servers from Germany to Kenya at a cost of $75 million. The initial build which was referred to as G1 had several problems including delays in the process of cancelling a transmission of funds when a user has sent money to the wrong person. Such transfer reversals could take an hour. In addition, the speed of notifications was slow taking up to 1o seconds to receive a confirmation message. The new build, hosted in Kenya is referred to as G2 has seen improvements in time taken to receive confirmation messages besides increasing the number of transactions per second to 900 from 450.
The available APIs are C2B that allows a business to charge a customer directly from their M-pesa account, without need for USSD prompts. The B2B build is already in implementation with banks, that allows clients to make direct bank transactions on the M-pesa platform. The release of the API further allow developers to make charges from mobile applications as well as accelerate the pace of online payments locally. M-pesa contributes 20% of Safaricom’s total revenue with transactions of Shs 4.2 Trillion done using the platform with 13.9 million monthly customers.
[UPDATE: ] Safaricom hasn’t published a public URL where to access this but it was expected to be on the URL Safaricom.co.ke/developer which is not live as of now. What we know so far is that developers will need to talk to them directly for access to the same. We will update should we get any information regarding this.