Kenya’s top mobile operator Safaricom is sending a big update to its utility app, mySafaricom. The app, which was launched several months ago, has been receiving iterative updates since it was released, and that is a good thing. Personally, it has become one of the few apps that live on my home screen for ease of access because it does so many things right, at least for the moment.
Today’s update is packed with new additions, some of which did not have the ‘coming soon’ warning screen. Let’s jump right in.
Safaricom has been harnessing its data offerings with revised and new products for the last couple of months. Of course, data is critical for most mobile phone users in the country, and by leveraging its robust infrastructure and coverage, the telco, which announced LTE coverage in key areas of all 47 counties. Data products such as Tunukiwa continue to be popular among users who consume lots of bundles in short stints. The good news is that Tunukiwa has found a spot in the app.
This has been added to the M-PESA menu. Here, the app has made it easier to access utility payments. By default, Safaricom PostPay customers will pay their bills easily, and so will DSTV, Go TV and Star Times subscribers. Notably, Kenya Power is missing, but you can add it from the list of pay bill numbers. Also, frequently used bills will be saved automatically (it adds them after scanning your SMS). The beauty of this option is that users only need to punch in the amount to be paid and confirm the transaction with a PIN. Easy.
Now, this is huge. Of course, we expected it because the operator mentioned that plans were underway to deploy the feature. Simply put, users are now able to access loans, save, withdraw M-Shwari from within the app. Also, you can see loans owed, as well as the maximum amount you are eligible for. Furthermore, KCB M-PESA is in tow with similar functions. About time Safaricom, about time.
Safaricom 1 Tap and QR Code Reader
This is another welcome update. On the whole, Safaricom has been pushing 1 Tap to improve payment services, where merchants with POS devices leverage NFC to skip multiple steps in the pay bill menu. It works as we discussed in this post, and the utility is now included in the mySafaricom app.
The option is under the M-PESA menu, but for it to be visible, your device must have an inbuilt NFC. After setting it up, all you need is tap your device to a POS device, enter your pin and pay.
Under the M-PESA menu is a QR and Pay button for payment services too.
Depending on your usage patterns, Safaricom will push personalized offers within the app. You will be notified of these offers via a notification bell.
Safaricom is very serious about Blaze based on recent campaigns that have been targetting the youth. The good news is that Blazers can choose and manage their plans within the app.
If you go through social media postings, you will see daily complaints from users who suspect foul play in regard to data use. For instance, recently purchased bundles mysteriously dwindle, forgetting that smartphones are complex devices that run thousands of processes in the background, processes that need data access. For this reason, Safaricom has added an option to manage data, where you get to see which apps are consuming more data, and so forth.
While mySafaricom is yet to become a fully fledged utility app (you still cannot manage your M-PESA account such as changing your PIN ), its offerings are better than what the competition has in play. We hope to see further updates for a better user experience.