Safaricom will implement a waiver on Kenya’s M-Pesa to encourage widespread adoption of cashless payments in response to the coronavirus epidemic, media reports said. With that, all person-to-person transactions below Ksh1000 will not charge any fee for the next 90 days.
The telecom giant waived charges after President Uhuru Kenyatta urged banks and mobile service providers to promote cashless payment through reduced transaction costs.
Safaricom chief executive Michael Joseph said in a statement, “This means that from tomorrow morning (Tuesday), M-Pesa users will be able to send any amount below Ksh1,000 for free over the next 90 (ninety) days.”
Previously, transfer of cash below Ksh1,000 on the M-Pesa platform charged a fee between Ksh11 and Ksh15. That said, the withdrawal from an M-Pesa agent cost upto Ksh28. It is reported that Safaricom has 27 million active subscribers every month.
Mobile money is a landmark initiative in Kenya’s financial landscape. According to central bank data, eight out of 10 cashless transactions are carried out on mobile phones
Safaricom decided to waive fees after a meeting with the Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and other industry players to discuss the next plan of action amid the epidemic. The central bank has also approved to increase the limit of daily M-Pesa transactions from the current Sh70,000 to Sh150,000, media reports said.
In addition, Safaricom will be working with the Kenyan government by providing a call centre. The National Emergency Response Committee will set up an integrating toll line to assist Kenyans during this time.