When the pandemic started, telcos and banks adjusted the rate of sending money to and from their accounts to cushion Kenyans from the harsh economic effects of COVID-19.
While some of those measures and directives have since been put to a stop, some continue to exist to date.
One of them is that customers are able to send money from their bank accounts to mobile money products such as M-PESA for free.
Bearing in mind that M-PESA service fees are not cheap, many customers have chosen this path, meaning they make substantial savings when they don’t pay transaction fees.
However, it has not been rosy for telcos. Safaricom, for instance, has been pushing the CBK to introduce the previous charges.
We first heard of this lobby many months ago and was revived by the same telco just the other day.
The point here is that Safaricom is losing millions of shillings, probably more, that it can make from bank to M-PESA transactions.
It also means that there are savvy customers who rely on this model entirely, and these are people Safaricom, and other players, can make a buck from should the fees be re-introduced.
The good news, however, is that the charges might be lowered when the fees are brought back.
The rates are probably being discussed right now, but be assured that the charges are coming back whether we like it or not.
Will you be affected if they do? Probably yes, but what if they are substantially lower?
Well, we will see – but then again, it will depend on how low they will be, because if they will match ordinary M-PESA to M-PESA transfers, then bank-to-MPESA transfers will cease to make sense.
The novelty of bank-to-MPESA transfers, and why people use them widely, is that they free. There is no way this can be rationalized to users, but I understand the business decisions behind the move.
During today’s Safaricom Investor Briefing, it was revealed by CEO Peter Ndegwa that Safaricom has recorded 3x jump in the volume of M-PESA to bank transfers. Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine.
On the whole, the charges will be introduced in the coming days, so make the necessary arrangements about your finances when that time comes.