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Money transfer costs set to fall as Safaricom, Telkom link up

M-Pesa platform
A customer uses Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cross-network money transfer charges between Safaricom #ticker:SCOM and Telkom Kenya will drop by up to 76 per cent as the two telcos integrate their mobile phone accounts on Thursday.

Telkom’s T-kash and Safaricom’s M-Pesa customers will send and receive money directly across networks into their mobile money accounts in the second phase of the service dubbed interoperability.

The first phase went live in April with Safaricom and Airtel allowing the transfer of funds directly from one provider’s mobile account into the other.

The system, for instance, allows an M-Pesa customer to send money, which will be reflected in real time in the recipient’s T-kash account and the transaction charge would also be similar as sending to a registered user on the same network. Sending Sh1,000 from T-kash to M-Pesa will drop to Sh10 from the current Sh35 charge, a 71 per cent reduction in cost.

Similarly, sending Sh1,000 from M-Pesa to T-kash will drop to Sh11 from Sh45, a 76 per cent drop in charges.

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The cost of cross network transfer for registered users within both networks will drop from a band of between Sh35 and Sh309 to a low of Sh10 to a maximum Sh105.

Previously, Safaricom and Telkom had labelled its rivals as non-registered users, meaning the cash transferred across the network attracted higher charges.

This also means that cross network transfers limits between Safaricom and Telkom will move to a maximum Sh70,000 up from Sh35,000.

“Today, Safaricom and Telcom have announced integration of their mobile platforms allowing customers to transfer funds from M-Pesa to T-kash and vice versa,” said a statement by the mobile network providers on Sunday.

The cross-network money transfer service will help smaller mobile money operators to boost transfers on their network.

Safaricom currently controls 81 per cent of 29 million active mobile money subscriptions, Airtel has 11 per cent while Telkom which relaunched its mobile money service this year is at 0.1 per cent. Telkom has previously plugged into Safaricom’s mobile account allowing for the purchase of airtime through M-Pesa’s paybill service.

This means that a Telkom user puts in the official business number, and their telephone number as the account and once paid, it reflects as airtime on their phone.

This system has been disadvantageous for those who receive cash from a network with fewer agents across the country, making it difficult and tedious to make withdrawals. Telkom and Airtel will integrate their mobile money accounts in the final phase at a later date, which in the statement by the telcos is once the necessary processes are complete.

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