For more than two years, people have been able to send money from their banks to mobile money wallets for free. However, both banks and mobile money providers were not pleased with this directive, which was implemented by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. As a result, telcos such as Safaricom began lobbying the CBK to reinstate the charges.
In late 2022, the CBK announced that charges would be reintroduced in 2023. The charges for various banks were slightly adjusted but still remained high for most Kenyans. However, less than two weeks later, the High Court of Kenya temporarily suspended the charges between banks and M-PESA, meaning that they may be reintroduced in the future, but for now, Kenyans can continue to transact for free as they did in 2022.
This follows a petition filed by Moses Wafula.
The petition in question discusses the relationship between Safaricom, the provider of the M-PESA paybill services, and their clients, which include banks, government agencies, Kenya Power, DSTV, betting companies, mobile money companies, and other institutions. It is described as a bipartite (two-party) business engagement.
Additionally, Kenyans have expressed their dissatisfaction with certain charges being levied by some banks. For example, Co-op Bank has recently been under scrutiny for charging customers for services such as alerts and airtime purchases, which should be free. Other banks never implemented the free bank-mobile money transfer directive, leaving their customers without the benefit of the grace period.
We hope that these issues will be addressed in the coming days and that some banks will stop charging for services that should be free.