Siri Yangu Limited, a tech company, has launched an application called PrivPay that enables M-Pesa users to send money while concealing their personal details from the recipient.
This new development aims to combat spamming and identity theft incidents that have been on the rise. With PrivPay, M-Pesa transfer recipients will not be able to access the name and phone number of the sender. This feature will be particularly useful for those making payments for donations and charity, and for people who are uncomfortable sharing their personal information with the recipient.
Sandra Mbuvi, the product manager at Siri Yangu, said that this innovation is timely and will resonate with people who are keen on data privacy and safety. However, the service comes with an additional cost, as it only acts as a payment transmitter and picks the funds for transfer from the user’s M-Pesa wallet.
A recent spot check conducted by Business Daily revealed that transferring Sh100 via PrivPay will cost a total of Sh13, comprising Sh4 collected by M-Pesa and Sh9 charged by PrivPay.
This is in contrast to M-Pesa’s ecosystem, where a similar transaction is free of charge. These additional fees are likely to limit the uptake of the PrivPay service to only those who prioritize their privacy. The use of mobile money has made users vulnerable to data leaks, including their contact information, which is often used for mass marketing.
The PrivPay app, which is available for download on both Android and iOS, is currently exclusive to M-Pesa users, but Siri Yangu plans to expand the service to Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash and Airtel Money in the coming days. Once the transaction is successful, the sender receives a message from PrivPay informing them that the money has been delivered to the recipient. Another message from M-Pesa confirms that the user has made a payment to Siri Yangu Limited. The recipient receives two messages, one from PrivPay and another from M-Pesa, both of which do not reveal the identity of the sender, who can provide a description of the payment.
The rising cases of data breaches in recent times, resulting in spamming and scamming practices, have increased the demand for data privacy and protection solutions, with tech companies striving to match current trends. Last year, parliament passed a set of regulations that require entities handling personal information as data controllers and data processors to register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).