You can top up your phone’s airtime in a variety of ways. You have the option of purchasing a scratch card, which is the most popular. You can also use M-PESA or another mobile money service to top up. However, the vast majority of people use M-PESA, and it is safe to say that the Safaricom-owned service has no competition at this time.
In the past, we talked about how you could buy Telkom or Airtel Kenya airtime via M-PESA for free for up to KES 100. This was done with a pay bill number and could be done natively with an STK or my Safaricom/M-PESA apps, as well as via a WhatsApp tool.
The pay bill number is important because it allows you to top up other networks if you are unable to access a shop that sells scratch cards. It’s also important because there will be times when you don’t have an M-PESA balance but can Fuliza for airtime if you qualify for the overdraft.
You can now top-up any amount of airtime for free, and here’s how:
- Use your STK or my Safaricom/M-PESA app to log in.
- Select Lipa Na M-PESA.
- Choose Pay Bill.
- Enter Business Number (309028)
- Enter your account number (Telkom, Safaricom or Airtel number)
- Choose amount
- Use your PIN code to verify your identity.
You can also do the same thing with a WhatsApp bot:
- Start WhatsApp on your smartphone.
- OR, use this direct link to the bot (or copy it for later use: https://wa.me/+254203892444?text=Hi).
- You will see a chat interface that is familiar to you.
- Enter whatever you want. Assume it is the most widely used greeting in the world, Hello.
- The bot will send you a text telling you what to do.
- Enter the Telkom/Safaricom/Airtel number to be topped up, followed by the hash # symbol, and then the amount as follows: +254722******# 100
- From the called STK Menu, select Send Authenticate with a PIN.