In a move that will spike e-commerce in Kenya, Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service M-PESA has launched Lipa Na M-PESA online to allow local traders to accept online payments for the purchase and sale of goods and services.
Speaking during the launch of the service, Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore said the ability to conduct financial transaction using a mobile phone is now a vital part of life for millions of Kenyans. The entry of M-PESA into the online space is a game changer that is bound to transform the conduct and uptake of online trade in Kenya.
“Lipa Na M-PESA online is part of M-PESA’s overall agenda to lead the evolution of the payments landscape in Kenya. The entry of M-PESA into the online space is a landmark move that will see more than 18 million M-PESA customers gain access to the online shopping experience either as entrepreneurs or as customers,” said Collymore.
The new service will leverage the deep penetration of the mobile phone and the proliferation of internet services to ease the shopping experience for customers while allowing merchants to match their goods and services directly to consumers.
Just like off line M-Pesa, the online payment service works simply, customers select the items they want to pay for and pay with Lipa Na M-PESA online at the checkout point. The total cost for the items purchased online is deducted from the customer’s M-PESA account. The customer only needs to key in their mobile number and they will receive a notification on their mobile phone to validate the transaction using their Bonga PIN.
The launch of the service comes in at a time most needed. Over 29 million Kenyans use a mobile phones and over half of them have access to the internet. There is also a plethora of e-commerce services in the country such as Rocket Internet’s Jumia, Ringier’s Rupu, OLX, Bid or Buy and Cheki. This and many others have led to the shift of Kenyans from physical retail stores to online purchases.
Payments however have been a problem in Kenya and in Africa in general where the number of payment cards is still low.
The M-PESA service is set to revolutionize e-commerce in Kenya with the launch of its online payment service.
Kenya has in recent times witnessed remarkable growth in online payments driven largely by the easy availability of high speed internet and an emerging middle class. The online payment space in Kenya has great potential, but industry experts say that lack of accessible and secure payment systems are hindering local uptake.