In August, we told you of Safaricom’s pilot of a new feature aimed at solving one of the perennial problems with its M-pesa service. Sending money to the wrong number. A previous attempt at resolving the problem involved one saving the mobile phone numbers they frequently use for their M-PESA transactions to a SIM card and then browsing through to the saved contact from the M-PESA menu when carrying out transactions. While this solution worked sometimes, customers sending money did not have the option to confirm the recipient’s name or in instances where it is a withdrawal or a deposit, the agent’s name which in most instances led to money being transferred to the wrong person.
Safaricom has today announced the launch of the new feature called Hakikisha to its M-Pesa, that allows one to confirm the name of the intended recipient of funds, before completing an M-PESA transaction. The pop-up feature will also apply when customers are making payments to Lipa Na M-PESA (PayBill option), agent withdrawals or depositing funds at M-Pesa agents.Roll-out to the 21.7 million M-PESA customers is set to take place in phases with a view of covering the customer base by October 30th, 2015. The telco reports that it receives an average of 12,000 calls a day from our M-PESA customers seeking to have reversals done for transactions made to the wrong recipients and this feature is a big boon to them.
Last year, Safaricom sought to solve another big problem that M-PESA users face: accidental airtime purchases while withdrawing cash. Within the M-PESA menu, buy airtime option sits right below withdraw cash magnifying the possibility that one might miss the menu entry and inadvertently purchase airtime. To resolve this, Safaricom allows users to contact its customer care, on the condition they do not use the accidentally purchased airtime, and the company reverses.