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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

MPESA EQUITEL WAR: SAFARICOM TO CHARGE FOR BANK TO MPESA SERVICES

Listed-telco Safaricom has issued notice of new charges to be imposed on bank to MPESA transactions.

In a statement  Safaricom said that Bank to Third-Party MPESA wallets will now incur charges similar to those it charges for person to person money transfer on MPESA.

Interestingly, this notice has been issued after rival Equitel informed customers that Safaricom had imposed new charges for transferring money from its service to MPESA.

However, insiders say the charges apply to all banks and are to come into effect later this year. Safaricom apparently discovered that Banks have been offering to transfer money from one bank account to another person's MPESA line other than the owner of the bank account and charging for it yet Safaricom has not been charging for this service.

"They are using our infrastructure," one source said.

This now means if you go to the Bank and ask them to transfer some money from your account to your supplier's  MPESA account, it will be charged the rate for sending that amount of money.

In principle, since banks are unlikely to bear these charges, it means customers will have to pay for this service over and above what banks have been charging and retaining.

What is not clear from the statement is whether bank's will be revenue sharing partners in this or will simply pay Safaricom for using its infrastructure.

Although the service has been existing, Safaricom now says this is a new service for which it has sought and received approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya.

In other words, banks have led Safaricom to discover another use for its MPESA infrastructure.

Banks will be expected to issue their positions on the matter in the coming days.

It will also put an interesting spin on whether Equitel can be classified as a bank to MPESA transaction.

Banks plan to launch their own switch allowing mobile money transfer from one bank to another in November.

*This blog post has been updated. It has been amended to correct the inaccurate assertion that these new charges apply to a customer sending money from his bank account to HIS Mpesa account. The new charges apply to sending money from his bank account to SOMEBODY ELSE's bank account.

The chart below issued by Equitel shows prevailing tariffs in the market.


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