M-PESA Junior Account is finally here, but it has arrived in more different ways than we expected.

Launched today in Nairobi at an event attended by key leaders from Safaricom, including its CEO Peter Ndegwa and the CS for ICT and Innovation Eliud Owalo, the product, which will be available for young people who have not attained the age of 18, but are above 10, will be accessed through M-PESA Go.

M-PESA Go, as you might guess, is supposed to be a version of the M-PESA App, but it has been made for minors, with toned-downed features for them.

However, there is one thing that should be noted as announced at the event. M-PESA Go goes beyond offering M-PESA services to minors. Rather, according to Boniface Mungania who serves as the Tribe Lead M-PESA Payments, it is an ongoing program for financial inclusion of those under 18.

M-PESA Go aims to improve digital money management and financial literacy among young Kenyans – Safaricom

At the same time, it should be remembered that 40 percent of Africans are below the age of 18, and this demo is digital native, which makes sense why Safaricom is investing in this demographic.

M-PESA Go has also been running a pilot for some time. Before today’s launch, Safaricom worked with Alliance High School students for feedback and information when developing it.

With that out of the way, juniors can now use M-PESA Go to complete the following functions:

  • Send and receive money
  • Buy data and airtime
  • Use Lipa na M-PESA services
  • Access a customized version of the M-PESA App

Kids, however, will not be able to do the following:

  • Withdrawing cash
  • Access to loans such as Fuliza, M-Shwari, and KCB M-PESA
  • No access to betting or forex payments

The three points make sense because to withdraw money, you need to have an identity card – which these kids do not have. At the same time, they are not allowed to access loans for obvious reasons and making payments for betting purposes has also been blocked because these services are reserved for adults.

Signing up

Signing up for M-PESA Go is easy.

  • A parent/guardian can onboard an already registered SIM card by following this link and filling the required fields. An already registered SIM card is one that belongs to a kid but has been registered under his or her parent’s/guardian’s ID.
  • If that is too hard, a parent can also visit a Safaricom Shop outlet for the same exercise. Here, the parent will be required to have an active SIM card registered on M-PESA, a valid ID/passport/military ID, and a child’s birth certificate.
  • Once registered, the juniors can download and do more with the M-PESA Go App, a customized version of the M-PESA Super App.

Parents will also be able to use the M-PESA Super App to monitor what their kids are doing with their Junior Accounts. They can monitor and track their use and execute parental controls such as setting transaction limits.

One of the Mini-Apps available on the M-PESA Super App is Kodris Africa, the provider of Kenya’s first-ever government-approved program for teaching coding. For 60 days, starting 26th November 2022, parent’s looking to get their children started on the coding journey can purchase an annual Kodris Africa subscription via the M-PESA App and enjoy 50% off.

Quotes

“As M-PESA we are committed to empowering and transforming the lives of everyone, and in M-PESA Go, we are providing a revolutionary product designed for youngsters, but with oversight by parents or guardians. Leveraging the M-PESA Super App, we plan to introduce a financial literacy platform that will equip children with tools for managing money,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom PLC.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]

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