Safaricom wants Sh140,000 daily M-Pesa limit increased


Western Union regional vice-president Richard Malcom (left) and Safaricom Limited Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has called for an increase of the daily mobile money transaction ceiling of Sh140,000, citing growing adoption of e-commerce in the country.

The giant telco says it is in talks with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to double the daily limit owing to rapid evolution of the mobile money platforms from person-to-person payments to an e-commerce tool.

The firm’s chief customer officer Sylvia Mulinge Tuesday said the ceiling should be doubled, citing banks which are allowed to transact up to Sh999,999 through the inter-bank mobile payment channel, PesaLink.

“Kenyans do a lot of transactions as part of their everyday enterprise and therefore the more we increase the limit the more they are able to use these platforms.

“I hope the central bank will consider our application because it’s a cry of Kenyans,” Ms Mulinge said. Mobile payments have become Kenya’s most popular payment mode due to their efficiency and speed with Safaricom, which controls more than 80 per cent of market share through M-Pesa, putting its average daily transactions at about 17 million.

Deals worth nearly Sh1.009 trillion were settled via mobile phones in the three months through September, latest CBK data shows, Sh112.78 billion more than in the same period in 2017.

Money laundering fears

The CBK is reluctant to increase the limit due to concerns that the platforms may be used to launder money and finance terrorist activities.

“The current limit is adequate, with respect to the current regulatory environment,” Telkom Kenya chief executive Aldo Mareuse said Tuesday.

Treasury secretary Henry Rotich in March 2017 said there were plans for an upward review of the ceiling to allow increased investment in government mobile-based retail infrastructure bond M-Akiba.

“We are discussing with the Central Bank of Kenya to see to what extent we can increase the daily limit to allow higher purchases,” said Mr Rotich at the launch of the bond.

The government last year raised Sh397.47 million out of the Sh5 billion it had targeted from the sale of the bond exclusively sold via mobile phones.

Currently, one is allowed to send up to Sh70,000 per transaction and maintain a maximum account balance of Sh100,000.

“We keep trying (to have the ceiling raised),” Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said last Friday