Kenyan micro-financier working with small businesses, can now make their monthly
loan repayments and savings contributions through Safaricom’s popular M-PESA
The service launched today aims at offering the organization’s over 51,000 customers a
reliable and convenient means of payment.
It is also in keeping with the brand identity of M-PESA, an internationally acclaimed
innovation by Safaricom and its partner Vodafone, which was founded on the need for
money transfer services among the unbanked and small businesses operating outside
the formal financial services infrastructure.
SMEP, one of the country’s top five micro-finance institutions (MFIs) is a non – profit
entity that seeks to improve the performance of low-income entrepreneurs operating in
Kenya’s vast informal sector by providing financial and non-financial assistance. It has a
national network of 19 branches with branches in rural, urban and peri-urban areas.
Speaking during the launch, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Mr. Michael Joseph said
the company is committed to offering business solutions that make it easier for its
partners to serve their customers effectively.
“We will continuously enter into strategic partnerships with key service providers to
create innovative products and services that meet the requirements of our customers
and business partners. As part of this strategy, we are in constant touch with public
utility companies, financial institutions, supermarkets, and fuel stations amongst others,”
he said. “We recognize that many of our customers are members of micro-finance
organizations, and are glad to provide an avenue that over 6 million M-PESA customers
can transact with their MFI with more convenience and flexibility”.
To use the service, SMEP customers who are registered for M-PESA will select “Pay
Bill” on the M-PESA menu; then enter the SMEP business number, their allocated
account number (as provided at the point of recruitment), the amount of money they
wish to transfer to SMEP and then enter their M-PESA Personal Identification Number
Customers using the service can pay between KShs 100 and KShs 10,000 per
transaction. A transaction fee of KShs 20 applies, with deposits to M-PESA being free.
Upon remittance of funds, the payment data generated will be directly uploaded to the
SMEP loan tracking system.
The new service has been piloted since late 2008, with SMEP having received
assistance with integrating M-PESA payments to their customers from Mobile micro-
finance Ltd [M.M.L] (U.K), Triple Jump and Oxfam Novib.
By signing up for the service, SMEP becomes the first micro finance institution to use
M-PESA to receive customers’ monthly contributions (savings) and loan repayments. As
a company SMEP has lived up to its mission of offering services using efficient and
“Our customers from all corners of the country including the areas that have no banking
services can easily deposit their savings and pay their loans from the comfort of their
businesses and homes anytime, anywhere.” says the CEO of SMEP, Mrs. Phyllis
The microfinance institution boasts of a customer base of 51,000 and offers a varied
range of products including business, agriculture, household, individual loans, project
financing, housing/building loans, collateral savings, health insurance policy, and Hisa
Loans among others.
Mr. Joseph says that to date over 60 companies have signed up for the Pay Bill service
and accept payments via M-PESA from customers and that the company was
committed to entering into relationships with other companies to enhance the
customer’s experience in interacting with the M-PESA service.
He emphasized that the existing M-PESA rules apply when paying bills. Under the
terms, maximum transaction amount per day is pegged at KShs 70,000 while the
maximum amount transferable per transaction is KShs 35,000. Transactions to SMEP
are capped at KShs 10,000 in line with their particular customer needs. He further
reminded customers to keep their 4-digit M-PESA PIN secret at all times.