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Digital registers plan to tighten M-Pesa customers’ security

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Safaricom Chief Technology Officer Thibaud Rerolle (L) with Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge during a past product launch. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The upgrade will enable the agents to access their statements on their phones, allowing them to track transaction activity in the absence of the physical registers currently in use.
  • However, Safaricom said access to customer data by agents will remain limited and that the information will be resident at Safaricom.

Telecommunications firm Safaricom #ticker:SCOM has confirmed plans to roll out a digital solution for M-Pesa agents, which will eliminate the use of book registers and subsequently improve security for users of the mobile money transfer service.

The upgrade will enable the agents to access their statements on their phones, allowing them to track transaction activity in the absence of the physical registers currently in use.

However, Safaricom said access to customer data by agents will remain limited and that the information will be resident at Safaricom.

The move is expected to tighten security as confidential information which may be used for fraudulent purposes will no longer be available to other people recording their own transactions on the same book.

According to the latest data from Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), there were 162,800 M-Pesa agents by September 2018, representing 74.51 percent of the total 218,495 mobile money agents.

Today, M-Pesa facilitates an average of 900 transactions per second, according to data from Safaricom. These include person to person money transfers, Lipa na M-Pesa and withdrawal from agents among others.

The new feature will also eliminate the need for a customer’s signature, but will still require the provision of an Identity Card number which coincides with that in the digital system.

“We basically put a lot of effort in the planning and the design of the services that we are generating. That covers the network, the functionality of the services and the whole spectrum of them,” said Safaricom chief technology officer Thibaud Rerolle on Thursday.

Safaricom also reiterated its plans to venture into 5G technology, saying that it had requested the regulator to authorise the spectrum on which Safaricom would operate.