Safaricom opens M-Pesa paybills to Airtel& Telkom

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Safaricom is set to open up the M-Pesa paybill service to competitors Airtel and Telkom.

The opening up of the service to rival networks is expected to represent the second phase of mobile-money merchant interoperability, an initiative supported by both the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

In April, Safaricom opened up M-Pesa tills to customers from rival operators allowing users on the competing networks to make direct payments to M-Pesa tills from their mobile wallets.

Mpesa paybill poster

The opening up of Paybills by Safaricom brings full-circle mobile money merchant interoperability which began with person to person (P2P) interoperability in Kenya in 2018.

The CBK has previously lauded the move towards interoperability terming it as a central pillar to the evolution of Kenya’s payment services.

“Without merchant interoperability of mobile money services, customers were forced to use alternative payment methods, including making transfers across networks, when making payments to merchants that are on different networks,” CBK said on April 8.

“Increased interoperability brings us closer to realizing the vision of a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations that benefit Kenyans.”

Telkom has been pushing to access M-Pesa Pay-bills as it views interoperability as key to growing the reach of its own mobile-money service T-Kash.

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