The High Court in Kenya has decided against continuing a previous order that prevented banks and mobile money providers from imposing fees for money transfers between their platforms, a report by Business Daily has revealed.
The judge, Justice Mugure Thande, noted that Safaricom and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) were not yet included in the case and that the request to include them has yet to be determined.
An interim order was issued on December 19, 2022, which temporarily stopped the charges from being implemented until the case was resolved.
Although the order was given, banks still went ahead with charging fees for bank-to-mobile transactions starting from January 1st.
This ruling means that banks and mobile money providers are now able to charge customers for transactions between their platforms.
The court announced that the case, filed by Moses Wafula, which argues against passing on charges to consumers, will be brought up again on March 8, 2023 before Justice Anthony Mrima.
The CBK, mobile operators, and the Competition Authority of Kenya will be included as parties to the case.
This follows the CBK’s permission for banks to reinstate the charges starting January 1, 2023, given on December 6, 2022.
The charges were initially waived on March 16, 2020 to promote the use of mobile money during the Covid-19 pandemic when many people and businesses turned to digital payments.
Overall, it means that the published charges for bank-to-mobile money transfers will be continued. At the same time, it should be remembered that Safaricom had revised downwards the charges for M-PESA to businesses (paybill), which also affects the amount of fees customers have to pay when moving their money from M-PESA to bank.
Lenders such as Loop by NCBA, have also introduced charges for bank-to-mobile money transfers. Loop was the only neo bank that did not introduce the charges, but this has since changed following the revamp of the product that has since gone official.