Millions of Kenyans use mobile money wallets to send and receive funds from each other, and these transactions hold valuable data that is often securely stored by the companies offering these services. However, some of this information ends up in the hands of bad actors who abuse the data.
For example, users may receive marketing messages without their consent after making a payment at a retail store via mobile money. PrivPay Ltd seeks to address this privacy concern with its product, PrivPay.
PrivPay Ltd’s product is called PrivPay. It is an app that is available for both Android and iOS, and all it does is hide personal information from recipients whenever you send money or make a payment. By doing so, a customer wouldn’t be spammed via marketing messages. Recipients will not have access to senders’ numbers which are sometimes used to stalk them, or in worst case scenarios, identity theft. PrivPay also comes in handy whenever someone wants to send/donate money anonymously.
“In instances where one doesn’t have cash on them and is reluctant to send money because they’re uncomfortable sharing their phone number or name with the recipient, PrivPay comes in handy to help send money privately via M-PESA. PrivPay conceals the sender’s personal information, and the recipient receives the sent funds with no record of the sender’s name or phone number,” says Sandra Mbuvi Ledama, Product Manager at Siri Yangu.
Benefits of using Privpay
As said, the most notable advantage of PrivPay is that a sender will remain anonymous. Hiding your personal details from mobile money text messages will see that you are not spammed by businesses, stalked, or scammed. This, to use, is a very big deal, and we will be excited if such products and practices are made commonplace.
“Users get to enjoy peace of mind that comes with knowing their personal information is protected and kept confidential when sending money to anyone,” adds Sandra.
Kenyans are usually very keen about how much money they are going to spend when using mobile money products and services. And in this case, using PrivPay is not free per se. The company says customers will incur a ‘modest’ fee when using the app.
We have done two tests and the fees are displayed before sending any amount. For instance, sending KES 100 from M-PESA will cost KES 9 (Safaricom does not charge any fee for all amounts under KES 100). Sending KES 1000 via PrivPay attracts a fee of KES 34. Doing the same via M-PESA to M-PESA costs KES 12.
Admittedly, these prices are high, but not too much for people who are really concerned about protecting their privacy. Anonymous donations come in handy here, particularly for high-value transactions. However, we understand why a person would prefer to use another channel for low-value cash transfers.
Other mobile money services
PrivPay is currently available via M-PESA, but the company has plans to introduce the service to Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash and Airtel Money in the future.
So, you might want to know who Privpay is targeting with this unique product.
According to the company, it is focusing on a customer who is keen on personal data privacy in mobile money transfers. These customers care about how their name or phone number is exposed whenever they send money, they are uncomfortable sharing their personal information with the recipient, which could be because they don’t really know them well or they just don’t want their details to be known by the recipient. They understand the importance and value of data privacy and don’t gamble with it.
On the growing interest in consumer and data protection in Kenya
According to PrivPay, consumers have certainly become more attentive and interested in what’s happening around them especially the things they subscribe to or use. They are more inquisitive and vocal about the things they like, and dislike, as well as what they would like to see improvements on.
Just as much as the cases of spamming and scamming have increased, so has the demand for data privacy and protection solutions. Reactive measures such as simply opting out of spamming promotional messages or blocking have helped but there’s a need for proactive measures that prevent personal information from being shared from the onset.
Institutions are required by law to implement data protection measures because they are the ones in possession of the data and hence hold power and a huge responsibility. This, however, does not mean that consumers are powerless, their power lies in the choices that they make, amongst other things.
“With the growing interest in consumer and data protection solutions in Kenya, I believe this is such a timely innovation that will resonate with many who are keen on data privacy and safety, especially in mobile money transfers,” concludes Sandra Mbuvi.
PrivPay is here to empower individuals to safeguard their own personal information, and to remind them that they too have a responsibility to protect their personal information in mobile money transfers by choosing to take advantage of solutions that embody data privacy. – PrivPay in a statement
This is a double-edged sword, great for protecting personal information; but can be an avenue for malicious users
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