Safaricom launches M-Pesa service for small businesses


A woman stands outside a Safaricom shop on Kimathi Street on July 4, 2019. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

Boda boda operators, food vendors and other small informal business owners will be able to separate business and personal funds on M-Pesa with a new feature on the money transfer service.

Dubbed Pochi la Biashara, the feature allows the business owners who do not have a Lipa na M-Pesa line to receive money from customers into a separate wallet.

“Business owners will be able to separate their business funds and personal funds allowing them to use business transactions to make better business decisions,” said Safaricom.

Similar to Lipa na M-Pesa, customers will make payments directly to the business owner’s Pochi la Biashara. A customer will dial *334# from their M-Pesa line, Select Lipa na M-Pesa then Select Pochi la Biashara, and complete the transaction.

According to Safaricom, the funds sent to the business account would not be deducted by Fuliza. Additionally, the business owners will also access statements for the account and can opt in or out of the service at will.

Safaricom is tapping into the growing demand and use of mobile money services across the country, especially as people shift to cashless payments to curb the spread of Covid-19 as well as the temporary lifting of charges on transfer of amounts less than Sh1,000 on M-Pesa.

Latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya shows that as of June 30, 2020, active mobile money subscriptions stood at 30.5 million, whereas active mobile money agents stood at 223,184.

M-Pesa continued to dominate the mobile money service with a market share of 98.9 per cent. The values transacted during the period increased significantly from the previous quarter following the government directive on the use of cashless payment systems to curb the spread of Covid-19.

During the period, M-Pesa’s customer-to-business transfers were valued at Sh446 billion while person-to-person transfers were Sh721.9 billion.

Business-to-business transfers on M-Pesa was Sh994.6 billion, which increased following the upgrade of Lipa na M-Pesa that allow merchants like bars, petrol stations and supermarkets to tap directly the cash paid into their accounts for goods and services.