M-Pesa deal values rise further in third quarter


An attendant makes an M-Pesa transaction for a customer. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM registered further growth in M-Pesa transaction values in the quarter ended December, lifting revenue of the telco which now makes most of its sales from the financial service.

The performance of M-Pesa in the review period was disclosed by Safaricom’s parent company Vodacom Group.

“Our M-Pesa platform, including Safaricom, continues to scale at an impressive rate with transaction values up 16.1 percent to exceed R430 billion (Sh3.2 trillion) per month,” Vodacom said in its third quarter results announcement.

Safaricom, which only publishes results for half year (to September) and full-year (to March), accounts for more than half of the continental M-Pesa transaction values.

Growth in transaction values means more revenue for the telco, especially after the company returned to charging most of the M-Pesa deals starting January last year.

M-Pesa is also available in other countries — Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — through subsidiaries owned by Vodacom.

Safaricom and the multinational also run the joint venture M-Pesa Africa which is designed to take the mobile financial services platform beyond existing markets served separately by the partners. There are now 51.3 million M-Pesa users across Africa.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm is expected to announce its results for the full year ending March in mid-May.

The telco recorded a 12.1 percent net profit jump in the half-year ended September, helped by revenue growth as the company reinstated charges on M-Pesa transactions of less than Sh1,000.

The charges were, however, reduced as part of the agreement with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) which regulates financial services.

Safaricom’s net profit in the period stood at Sh37 billion, up from Sh33 billion a year earlier.

Sales increased 17.5 percent to Sh146.3 billion, with the mobile money platform M-Pesa leading the revenue growth.

M-Pesa, which overtook voice last year to become the single largest business line, posted the highest revenue growth of 45.8 percent to Sh52.3 billion.

Charges on the mobile money platform for transactions of less than Sh1,000 were suspended to offer financial relief to customers and reduce handling of cash in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zero-rating of the transactions lasted from March 16, 2020, to December 31, 2020. Safaricom plans to expand its mobile money service to Ethiopia where it is setting up operations after leading a consortium that won a telecoms licence in that market.

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