There are 17 million M-PESA users in Kenya served by a network of over 35,000 agents countrywide. M-PESA offers ubiquity and instantaneity unmatched by any financial institution in Kenya. In December 2011 alone,M-PESA moved KES 116.6 billion.
However, a research commissioned by FSD Kenya shows that M-PESA is not more
widely used in business,and banks continue to to be the preferred provider
of financial and payment services by most formal businesses.
According to the research,banks dominance in the enterprise space does not show any signs of being under threat from M-PESA. However, the study shows that informal businesses seem to be more ready to use M-PESA than formal businesses.
The study found that one of the main reason why M-PESA is proving slow to spread across businesses in Kenya is the extremely longer time (4 days) it takes for Safaricom to move money from their M-PESA corporate accounts to their bank accounts compared to check payments.
Obstacles faced by businesses that use M-PESA are serious and need to be solved. There is no doubt about that. However, for businesses to realize the full benefits of using M-PESA,they should consider using M-PESA as a value-added service,and not just for transactions only.
Paying with M-PESA is convenient to the consumer, and has the ability to drive more customers,loyalty,efficiency and lower risk for the merchant and everyone else involved in the payment process.
As a business, don't use M-PESA as a direct alternative to cash only; use M-PESA because it adds value to your customers.
1. Why doesn't every Kenya business have a mobile money account - FSD Kenya (PDF)
2. The value of mobile payments in beyond transactions - Forbes.(link)
3. Focus on value-added services, not transactions- Kopo Kopo inc. (link)