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Safaricom Introduces the Mpesa Payments Card

In 2016, Safaricom announced it was in the process of developing a M-pesa payments card with the view of improving payments on its M-Pesa mobile cash platform. The card was set to mirror the M-pesa account in the user such that whatever balance you may have on your M-Pesa wallet mirrors within your card.

The telco has right now announced the official launch of M-Pesa One Tap which includes the card, a Wristband and NFC badge. The M-Pesa One Tap wants to enhance client utility in payments when working with the mobile cash service. The new service will also extend to merchants receiving payments directly by way of M-Pesa or through the Lipa na M-Pesa card.

The first industrial roll out from the payment remedy has already started in Nakuru after a productive pilot phase which has been ongoing for the past 6 months. As of yesterday, 13,000 plus consumers and 900 vendors in Nakuru had enrolled for the service.

Safaricom aims to have 500,000 point of sale (POS) payment points across Kenya like bars and restaurants, retail shops, fuel stations, amongst other places. It’s worth noting that buyers that acquire goods employing the service will not be charged, with all the exception of petrol station charges.

How M-Pesa Tap & Go solutions works

From the merchant side, all the buyer requires is tap their cards on the POS machines which are mobile. The POS units are small and can even be placed around the neck even when the vendor is walking on the street.

The TAP AND GO NFC solution has been established in 3 major means.

First, if a client has an NFC-enabled phone all they have to do is touch their mobile phone on the POS, type in their PIN and the payment will be made.

Second, if the buyer doesn’t have an NFC-enabled phone all they have to do is take an NFC STICKER that can be attached on the back of their device, touch and input the PIN to make payments.

Third, if users opt for the Card the card is directly connected to the buyers M-PESA account, clients can tap the card enter, their PIN numbers to make payments.

The product is currently being tested in Nakuru, with vendor recruitment ongoing and the telco will look towards onboarding additional vendors to the service.

IMPLICATIONS

Convenience and user utility have been the biggest problems for anyone utilizing M-Pesa for both payments and even cash transfer. Safaricom recently launched the M-Pesa App seeking to make it easy for customers to send cash. The improvements launched on the payments side right now mean both users and vendors will attain the much-awaited convenience.

The decision by Safaricom not to link the card to either Visa or MasterCard may be due to a new direction as a payments aggregator. Also, issuing vendors with P.O.S will see M-Pesa transfer Billions in transactions in a day.

We hope to see much more integrations that will allow clients to transact online from purchasing applications to checking out on e-commerce websites soon.

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