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M-Pesa users hit 30 million as more Kenyans adopt cashless payments

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Telecommunications service provider Safaricom has hit 30 million active monthly users in Kenya on the back of increased merchant payments through Lipa na M-Pesa

The telco on Thursday announced the figures a few days after M-Pesa marked 15 years since its launch and the numbers show an increase of more than three million users since September 2020.

The figure is also more than all the deposit accounts in the country’s 40 commercial banks combined, excluding NCBA Bank and KCB Bank.

“We thank all our customers for getting us to the 30 million monthly active customers milestone,” said Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa (pictured). In February, Safaricom reported M-Pesa earnings had grown 45 per cent to Sh52 billion in the first half of the 2021-22 financial year, making it the highest contributor to the company’s total service revenue.

Kenya remains M-Pesa’s most active market, accounting for more than 30 million of the service’s 51 million customers across Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Lesotho, Ghana and Egypt.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further increased M-Pesa’s uptake in Kenya, with the number of businesses accepting payments on Lipa Na M-Pesa more than doubling from 173,000 in April 2020 to over 387,000 today.

The latest figures come as the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has issued payment service provider licences to financial technology firms that are seeking a bigger slice of the country’s multi-billion-shilling digital payments market. 

Last week, JamboPay became the latest to get approval from CBK to provide payment gateway and e-wallet services, a week after Cellulant was granted similar authorisation.