Mobile money penetration has grown steadily since last year when it stood at 68%. It now stands at 73.8% as of March 2022 according to the latest sector statistics from the Communications Authority of Kenya, the country’s regulator.
Kenyans have been using various mobile money products, especially for transactions that include using paybill and buy goods/services options. Merchant payments and deposits have also seen substantial growth.
Mobile money subscriptions has also risen from 35.2 million recorded during the second quarter to 36.4 million in the latest quarter (third) served by close to 294,000 agents. In 2024, it is expected that all mobile money agents will be able to serve any customer.
The three leading mobile money services include Safaricom’s M-PESA, Airtel Money and Telkom Kenya T-Kash. Equity’s Equitel doesn’t get factored in the CA numbers as it’s more of a bank-based service rather than a mobile money product.
However, in January, Equity Bank launched One Equity Till Number which meant that merchants could receive payments from customers using M-PESA, Airtel Money, PesaLink, Equitel, and Equity Mobile using One Equity Till Number without having to subscribe for multiple Paybill/Till numbers for their businesses.
A few months later, CBK announced mobile money merchant payment interoperability with Safaricom’s Lipa na M-PESA product but there was a catch – other players could use Lipa na M-PESA, but only for Buy Goods or till, and not the paybill service.
Paybill interoperability will be supported in 2023.
Airtel Money is the country’s second-leading mobile money product and was launched in 2011. It has 23,326 agents and as of last year held a market share of 0.8%. We have no recent market share data as CA no longer shares that data for each mobile money product.
Airtel Money boasts of having 1.5 billion in terms of total value of deposits. Here are its other statistics:
- Value of C2B: 1.66 billion
- Value of B2C: 396 million
- Value of C2G: 14 million
- Volume of P2P: 805K
- Value of P2P: 513 million
In July this year, Airtel Money split from Airtel Kenya. Airtel Money now runs under Airtel Money Kenya Limited. This was a month after its parent company, Airtel Kenya sold 25.77% of its mobile money product in a deal that was seeking to raise more cash for the company’s operations. The sale saw four companies give Airtel Kenya $550 million after the transaction.
Last month Airtel Kenya appointed Rose Mambo as chair for Airtel Money Kenya Limited.
Transfer charges are also substantially lower than what M-PESA charges and include free transfers among Airtel Money users.
- The maximum amount per transaction for Airtel Money has been increased from Ksh. 70,000 to Ksh. 150,000 (this was after adjustments were made following the revision of charges over the pandemic)
- The daily limit for mobile money transactions was boosted from Ksh. 140,000 to Ksh. 300,000
- Airtel Money account balance limit was increased from Ksh. 140,000 to Ksh. 300,000
- The current tariff for mobile money transactions for Ksh.70,000 will apply for transactions up to Ksh. 150,000
- Charges waived for transfers from the Airtel Money account to the bank account. This is the same for other mobile money products.
Here are Airtel Money charges for 2022:
|Min||Max||Send to Airtel||Send to other networks||Withdraw from Airtel Money Agent|
T-Kash was announced back in 2018 after the telco had axed Orange Money services. Telkom Kenya had been developing T-Kash for more than two years prior to the launch using a bottom-up approach. The delay was characterized by licensing issues with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) that were eventually ironed out.
Telkom Kenya’s mobile money product uses T-Kash codes that have enabled the telco to drop the use of agent numbers when making withdrawals or till and pay bill numbers when buying goods or paying for services/products.
These are one-time codes that are generated by a user when performing a transaction. The code, which lasts for 10 minutes before expiry, is then entered by an agent/merchant on their devices to complete a transaction.
Early this year, they launched the T-Kash app for iOS, Android and Huawei smartphones through the AppGallery. Telkom Kenya subscribers used to access T-Kash via the STK Menu or by dialling *160#. The app recently got updated to allow for biometrics authentication for processing transactions.
It’s worth noting that they have another utility app – MyTelkom.
Sector data from last year pointed out that T-Kash had a 0.7% market share. T-Kash has 8349 agents countrywide with total value deposits amounting to 85 million.
- Value of C2B: 86.3 million
- Value of B2C: 148 million
- Value of C2G: 61K
- Volume of P2P: 637K
- Value of P2P: 169 million
Telkom Kenya is also working on a credit product they are calling T-Kash Loan. It’s unknown if it will be a collaborative effort between the telco and banks.
We project it will work in a similar manner as M-Shwari, but that can only be known when the product is launched.
Telkom Kenya is also planning to split T-Kash from the company. It was supposed to happen last month so that T-Kash is run as a separate entity from its carrier services (voice, data, and SMS)
Unlike Airtel Money which costs free among its customers, T-Kash charges the same amount for sending to T-Kash customers and those on other networks.
Here are T-Kash charges for 2022:
|Min||Max||Send to T-Kash and Other Networks||Send to Unregistered User||Agent Withdrawal Fees|
M-PESA was launched in 2007 as Safaricom’s mobile money product. Its early start has given it so much headway – it takes the biggest size in terms of market share. Before CA stopped sharing market share data, MPESA had a 99% share.
The growth in M-PESA customer usage has been driven by the launch of various innovations over the years including financial services such as Lipa na M-PESA, M-Shwari, KCB M-PESA and Fuliza.
Safaricom serves more than 30 million monthly active M-PESA customers, and the M-PESA ecosystem is also home to 42,000 developers, and that number keeps growing:
- M-PESA has 51 million customers
- More than 465K businesses use M-PESA
- There are more than 600K M-PESA agents
- It is available in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt
- It processes more than 61 million transactions per day, effectively making it the largest fintech in Africa
- The M-PESA app has been downloaded more than 9 million times. There is no other Kenyan app that comes close
- 320,000 businesses have downloaded the M-PESA Super App since its launch.
M-PESA revenues have grown by 38.3% to KES 107.7 billion – it’s the biggest revenue contributor to Safaricom with revenue from voice coming in close at 29.6% in FY22.
The telco leads the country in terms of coverage standing at 97% with the likelihood of hitting 100% soon.
MPESA has 262,004 agents as of March this year with a total value of deposits of 1.2 trillion.
- Value of C2B: 1.38 trillion
- Value of B2C: 919 billion
- Value of B2B: 2.2 trillion
- Value to G2C: 882 million
- Value of C2G: 13 billion
- Volume of P2P:1.0 billion
- Value of P2P: 1.1 trillion
Like Telkom, Safaricom is also planning to separate M-PESA from its carrier services to be run under a holding company.
At the moment, Safaricom is already sharing its paybill and buy goods infrastructure with Telkom and Airtel Kenya.
CEO Peter Ndegwa said that the split will be in the form of a holding company, which will then manage the telco’s mobile money services, towers, data services, and the Ethiopian arm.
Early in June, the telco in partnership with payments corporation VISA announced M-PESA GlobalPay Virtual Visa Card that saw Safaricom customers pay for products and services from international companies.
It’s worth noting that this is different from M-PESA Global which was launched ten years ago and allowed customers to send money to each other outside the confines of Kenya in tens of other countries.
Safaricom and Visa have been working on this virtual card since mid-2020.
M-PESA GlobalPay Virtual Visa Card allows you to make international payments. This means that companies that process their payments outside Kenya and are VISA merchants will accept payments from the virtual card.
To access M-PESA GlobalPay, you’ll need the MPESA app Safaricom’s super app which has since been downloaded more than 5 million times.
The virtual VISA card by GlobalPay comes in handy, and it sure does eliminate some friction that we have come to experience with other forms of payments for Netflix (among other global services that we previously wanted to pay for via a channel that works with M-PESA, but couldn’t).
Another interesting development is that Safaricom is planning to launch M-PESA Junior Accounts for young Kenyans between the age of 10 to 18 years. These are individuals who do not have IDs to register a Safaricom line but have access to the network via SIM cards registered under their guardians or parents.
This development is still under regulatory approval.
Safaricom also clarified that minors will not have access to loans or savings products which means 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.
Safaricom has also come up with new customer data privacy measures. The new measures limit the scope of merchants’ customer data access. Merchants will now receive the customer’s first name, transaction ID and a redacted customer’s phone number. These new changes will affect both SMS and API callback notifications.
Here are all M-PESA and its associated charges for 2022:
- The maximum Account Balance is KSHs.300,000
- Maximum Daily Transaction Value is KSHs.300,000.The maximum per transaction is KSHs.150,000
- You cannot withdraw less than KSHs.50 at an M-PESA agent outlet.
Withdrawal from M-PESA Agent
Transfer to Unregistered Users
Transfer to other M-PESA Users, Pochi La Biashara and Business Till To customer
Transfer to M-PESA Customer
Transfer to Other Networks
“In the last 15 years, M-PESA has transformed the lives of millions of customers empowering them with useful and affordable financial services. With increasing smartphone usage across the continent, we are transitioning to be a digital financial services provider connecting customers and businesses in a digital world,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, MD – M-PESA Africa.