Safaricom has not released a ton of apps over the last couple of years; we can actually track them because their number is not excessive. However, some of its releases have and continue to serve thousands of Kenyans, most of whom are happy with the utility aspect embedded in the products.
One of the apps that many people loved was M-Ledger. M-Ledger was launched back in 2014. Before Safaricom assumed its ownership, M-Ledger had been developed by Dynamic Data Systems, a startup company that was under the umbrella of the Safaricom Academy. For some time, the app was released with the M-Ledger name before Safaricom realized it could do more with it. It was then named to Safaricom app and evolved to mySafaricom app, still maintaining some of its functionality.
So, why do people want the app back (having been discontinued in favour of other apps; more of that in a second)?
Well, to be honest, the app was superior from a functional point of view compared to what we currently have.
- Users could reconcile their transactions in sheets/Excel and in the app interface for Android users. This was not possible via USSD
- M-Ledger could fetch transactions from more than 6 months prior, and that was at launch. Later updates allowed it to go back as far as five years by transaction history all from Safaricom Cloud
- You could transact a transaction by searching through the history using elements such as a user’s name.
- You could do nifty things like zero down on people you financially interacted with, and other features such as who receives the most money from you. Heck, you could even tell how much you had transacted over a given period, say annually in terms of sent and received funds, and by person.
- Although available in the new M-PESA app and updated mySafaricom app, M-Ledger allowed customers to find company paybill numbers
Basically, M-Ledger was more straightforward and accurate about transactions, which helped people and businesses to track their M-PESA activities.
In the mySafaricom app, you can access almost the same features in the M-PESA Statements sections. Customers can see their recent transactions, Money In, Money Out, as well as their full statements.
The M-PESA app, on the other hand, tracks your transactions and displays them on the home page. You can scroll through them if you need to narrow down a given transaction. Unlike M-Ledger, there is no way to search through the transactions – and worse is that you can’t view reports in the form of a sheet.
Both apps (M-PESA and mySafaricom) allow you to request for reports. M-PESA downloads the report immediately to your device, whereas mySafaricom emails them to you (maximum is the last one year). M-PESA’s reports can only be pulled from the last three months only.
M-PESA app allows you to specify which transaction you want bundled in the report (paybill, send money, withdraw, name them).
There are many and mixed ways we can look at these developments. First, is that the operator axed M-Ledger because it wanted to bundle the features in mySafaricom app – which it has, but only partly. The other thing is that Safaricom may be working on M-Ledger like features for the M-PESA app, having introduced some of them (M-PESA Statements) in the normal mySafaricom app.
However, the fact that users can’t pull reports from more than one year ago still makes M-Ledger superior, which is probably why some users miss the app so much (just look at this story’s comment section).
Some people are asking what’s Safaricom plans with the M-PESA and mySafaricom apps. We can only guess for now because the carrier is yet to fully announce the M-PESA app that is currently on testing. The app will likely be just that, a separate M-PESA utility product from mySafaricom, which integrates its services, Home Fibre, mobile services, et cetera, under a single roof.
And will we see M-Ledger make a comeback? Unlikely, but its features will probably be baked in the existing apps over the future.