You can now send or receive mobile money across networks

M-Pesa shop

Kenyans will be able to send and receive money across networks at no extra cost starting Tuesday. This is as operators launch an interoperable mobile money wallet. 

This service will allow for the seamless transfer of funds from one mobile money wallet to another across Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom, shortening the cumbersome process consumers were subjected to when transacting across networks.

“Previously, the transfer across networks was complex, costly and inconvenient,” explains a joint statement from Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom announcing the launch.

“This was due to the money being transferred not reflecting directly into the recipient’s wallet as a result of lack of connectivity between platforms.”

Customers receiving money from other networks would receive a text message informing them to withdraw the funds from the sender’s network in order to access the funds.

Tuesday’s launch of the interoperable mobile wallet will see users send and receive money through one common wallet irrespective of their mobile networks.

Removes the barriers

This will start with Airtel and Safaricom. Telkom, which launched its own mobile money service T-Kash last month, will join the two at a later date.

The move follows months of deliberations between the three mobile service providers and will see Kenya become the 16th country on the continent to successfully implement wallet interoperability.

According to the Kenya Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), setting up an interoperable wallet between service providers was one of the means of stimulating healthy competition and innovation in the telecoms industry.

“Interoperability is something that is welcome and is consistent with consumer interest because it removes the barriers of sending money across networks and improves the value of the service,” said IEA Chief Executive Officer Kwame Owino.

Kenya is a leader in the area of mobile money service and has been credited for deepening financial access.

There are currently 28.2 million mobile money subscribers. M-Pesa has the largest share with 22.8 million subscribers, or 80 per cent market share.