Lipa na M-Pesa merchants hit 32,000

Lipa na M-Pesa merchants across the country have hit 32,000, telecommunications company Safaricom announced Wednesday.

More than nine out of 10 payments in Kenya are, however, still made in cash, and Safaricom is moving to take a larger share of transactions through its mobile money service.

“It is not lost on us that 94 per cent of transactions in Kenya are in cash and we feel that there is an immense opportunity for the number of cashless transactions to grow,” said Betty Mwangi, general manager financial services Safaricom.

“We have already made investments in the public transport sector and in government transactions, which we believe are the next growth frontiers for Lipa Na M-Pesa,” she said.

READ: Safaricom reveals interest in cashless fare firm

Boost uptake
To boost uptake of the service launched in June 2013, Safaricom Wednesday launched an eight-week consumer and merchant promotion where it will reward one customer each week with a fully-furnished house valued at Sh12 million.

READ: Safaricom takes on plastic money with mobile wallet

Consumers will also win Sh32 million in cash and 16 million worth of airtime.

Lipa Na M-Pesa merchants also stand a chance to win a pick-up vehicle every two weeks. In addition, merchants will win Sh40 million in cash.

Sustained growth of mobile money is further attributed to the convenience it offers users beyond the traditional money transfer to include payment of utility bills such as water, rent and electricity, and for shopping and bus fare.

Safaricom has recently increased its focus towards retail payments, mobile banking and bulk transfers which are seen as the next frontier in the evolution of mobile money growth.