Citi analysts see tougher competition for M-Pesa

M-Pesa is market leader in mobile money business. FILE PHOTO | NMG
M-Pesa is market leader in mobile money business. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The entry of commercial banks in the mobile money business and the impact of a gaming tax imposed on betting firms effective January are likely to eat into Safaricom’s #ticker:SCOM M-Pesa earnings, Citi analysts have predicted.

Commercial banks in February set up a mobile money transfer platform, taking the battle for the fast growing transaction revenues to the doorstep of Safaricom’s M-Pesa.

The platform offered by Integrated Payment Services Ltd (IPSL), a fully-owned subsidiary of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), facilitates direct transfers without going through intermediaries such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Orange Money. 

It can handle person-to-person transfers from as low as Sh10 to a high of Sh999,999.

The platform which now features 30 commercial banks transacted Sh15 billion six months after its February this year launch, according to IPSL chief executive Jennifer Theuri.

“We think M-Pesa’s growth going forward will be somewhat challenged by the banks, which are taking share in faster growing mobile-payments,” said the Citi analysts.

Safaricom is expected to announce its half-year results on Friday.

While the initial phase of the Pesa Link project involved person-to-person money transfers, the second phase will include businesses and establish partnerships with government agencies, mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) and other players in the mobile money transfer subsector.