Safaricom has waived fees for M-pesa transactions below Sh1000 in an announcement aimed at fighting the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The move follows President Uhuru’s directive on ways of deepening mobile money usage to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through the physical handling of cash.
According to a communication from the telco, the President also directed that the industry considers reducing the cost of using mobile money during this period.
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“In the meeting, it was agreed that all person-to-person transactions below Sh1,000 shall be free. This means that from Tuesday morning, M-PESA users will be able to send any amount below Sh1,000 for free over the next 90 (ninety) days,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer Safaricom.
“To support this, and in particular small and micro business enterprises (SMEs), Central Bank of Kenya has also approved the increase of daily M-PESA transaction limits from the current Sh70,000 to Sh150,000. Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Sh300,000 up from the current limit of Sh140,000, and hold up to Sh300,000 in their M-PESA wallets.”
A Monday meeting between Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to facilitate increased use of mobile money transactions instead of cash also resolved that the daily limit for mobile money transactions is increased to Sh300,000, the mobile money wallet limit is increased to Sh300,000 and the monthly total limit for mobile money transactions is eliminated.
Also the current tariff for mobile money transactions for Sh70,000 will apply for transactions up to Sh150,000 and PSPs and commercial banks will eliminate charges for transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
Earlier in the day, Matatu Welfare Association chair Dickson Mbugua called on bus conductors and passengers to transact in soft means (via mobile money sending) and cards as this would lower the risk of contracting Coronavirus. Most bus conductors collect fares in cash.
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Available but not widely used alternatives include M-PESA, Airtel Money, and T-Kash while digital application taxis accept payment using bank cards.
Kenya has so far reported three coronavirus cases prompting the government to close down schools, public gathering and encourage working from home.