Safaricom reveals secret "tap and go" plan to cut M-Pesa payment steps

M-Pesa interface. Customers could soon enjoy reduced complexity and shorter steps. [File, Standard]

Safaricom's 30 million M-Pesa customers could soon enjoy reduced complexity and shorter steps when paying for goods and services under a revamped payment platform.

Kenya's biggest and most profitable telco, under the new remodelled platform, says it wants to shorten the steps it takes for M-Pesa customers to pay for goods and services through its till and pay-bill numbers.

This could see, for instance, M-Pesa eliminate the need for manually inputting complex till and paybill numbers prone to erroneous entries and allow customers to only "tap and go" when paying for goods and services.

"Safaricom aims at increasing the utility and user experience when customers make payments on M-Pesa to initiate and complete digital payments from manually inputting and completing payment details such as till numbers, scanning a QR code or even sharing a payment link," says Safaricom in internal strategy documents seen by The Standard.

"As the number of M-Pesa users with smartphones increase, we are looking at ways to reduce the customer journey when completing payments and therefore reducing the number of steps taken to complete a transaction."

User experience

Safaricom consequently plans to engage reputable firms that are able to provide "nearby payment solutions aimed at improving the payment user experience by reducing the number of steps taken to complete a transaction by both customers and merchants."

"The selected partner will offer end-to-end implementation and delivery of a nearby payment solution aimed at improving the M-Pesa payment user experience," it says.

The plan could enable Safaricom, to protect the market share of its cash cow mobile payment service against rivals Airtel and Telkom.

Safaricom has been under pressure to enhance the convenience of M-Pesa amid stiffening competition from financial technology firms and rival telecoms.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) last year forced Safaricom to accept cash from rival firms such as Airtel on its Lipa na M-Pesa, enabling a seamless transfer of money through merchants.

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