We have since learned that Safaricom is prepping M-PESA Junior Accounts for minors. The development, which is subject to regulatory approval, will see the youth who have not attained the age of 18 use the mobile money product that has proved popular in Kenya, and lucrative for the telecommunications company.
This announcement was made last week by the carrier’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa during the release of Safaricom FY results for 2022 ended March 30.
“We plan to soon launch an M-PESA Junior Product for our children who may have access to mobile phones,” the CEO had said.
It would make sense why the company wants to expand the scope of its M-PESA services. At the announcement, it emerged that M-PESA was the leading money make for the telco. For instance, M-PESA recorded a 30.3% YoY growth to KES 107.69 billion. This was supported by the resumption of charging of previously zero-rated transactions beginning in January 2021.
Total M-PESA transaction value grew 34.0% YoY to KES 29.55 trillion while the volume of transactions grew 34.9% YoY to 15.75 billion.
Even better, for the telco, is that the product is the biggest revenue contributor accounting for 38.3% of service revenue while voice contributed 29.6% in FY22.
Boosting the numbers that use the service could go a long way in achieving higher revenues in the future, and that includes looping in as many people as possible, including minors who have access to phones and have their SIM cards registered under their parents’ or guardians’ names.
However, some issues have been raised about whether a minor will have access to loans, overdraft or saving products. It is a big issue because the said products have seen some Kenyans fall into the debt trap, including cases where others have been unable to pay their loans, or are constantly accessing overdraft facilities (Fuliza) in an endless loop just to get by.
Safaricom has clarified the issue that minors will not have access to loans or savings products. This implies that they will not be able to use Fuliza, KCB M-PESA, or M-Shwari, leaving them with the option of sending/receiving money or paying bills.
New details have not been revealed about the Junior Accounts, but we will know more once the service goes live before the end of the quarter.