NAIROBI, KENYA: Mobile money users will bid goodbye to the free transaction on Sh1000 introduced on the onset of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Thursday said it will allow the Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to introduce new charges on transactions above Sh100 by January 1, next year.
Mobile money customers will however not be charged for transferring less than Sh100 to any network and the wallet and transaction limits announced on March 16 will remain in force.
Three days after the country recorded its first case of Covid-19 on March 13, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge announced that the financial regulator had struck a deal with payment service providers including banks and telecommunications providers that would see charges on mobile money transactions of sums of less than Sh1,000 would be waived in what was aimed at curbing the spread of the viral disease through contact of physical cash.
The measures, which also included increasing the limit for mobile money transactions to Sh150,000, were to remain in place until the end of June.
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However, Njoroge extended the measure to the end of the year after, noting that it would help push the mobile money transactions.
“A significant increase of mobile money usage has been noted over the period the measures have been in place, demonstrating that they were timely and effective,” said CBK on Thursday.
“For instance, the monthly volume of person-to-person transactions increased by 87 per cent between February and October 2020. Over this period the volume of transactions below Sh1,000 increased by 114 per cent, while 2.8 million additional customers are using mobile money. Business-related transactions also recorded significant growth over the same period.”
In consultation with Payment Service Providers (PSPs), the regulator said it will allow the emergency measures to expire on December 31, 2020, and PSPs will introduce revised pricing structures from January 1, 2021.
CBK, however, said the PSPs should not charge for person-to-person transfers of up to Sh100 to any customer and network, also there will be no charges for transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
To facilitate the integration of Savings and Credit Societies (SACCOs) with the mobile money ecosystem, SACCOs regulated by the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) may levy a charge for transfers between SACCO accounts and mobile money wallets.
CBK said it will oversee these charges in the context of the products that banks and PSPs offer to SACCOs.
“Going forward, PSPs will propose pricing structures that reflect the “Pricing Principles” that CBK has introduced. These “Principles” aim to support the development of an efficient, safe and stable payments and mobile money ecosystem where the customer and public interests are adequately protected.”
The wallet and transaction limits that were announced on March 16, however, will remain in force. The March communication increased the daily limit for mobile money transactions and mobile wallet limit to Sh300,000 respectively.