Safaricom came, saw and conquered the consumer mobile payments market in Kenya, as there are now more than 17 million active M-PESA users across the country. Since mastering the peer-to-peer mobile platform service, the mobile network operator is moving on to new heights.
Safaricom is making plans to target medium and small enterprises in Africa with the launch of Lipa na M-PESA. According to Mobile Payments Today, the new service will act as a business tool, and will allow firms to distribute salaries and receive payments through the M-PESA platform. Additionally, Lipa na M-PESA will facilitate other payment transactions, namely utility payments, promotional payouts, dividend payments and transportation payments.
Safaricom is no rookie in the mobile payments market, and will hit the ground running with its new campaign. The company revealed an ambitious goal of recruiting more than 100,000 small and medium sized businesses by April 2014.
In attempt to attract as many new clients as possible, Safaricom has elucidated the registration process. Initial documentation will be made simple for traders, who will only be asked to present copies of a PIN certificate, ID card and trading license to receive a till number.
"By using the M-PESA payment services, traders will handle less cash and will therefore be less susceptible to risks associated with cash handling such as theft and fake currency," said Betty Mwangi-Thuo, general manager for financial services at Safaricom.
"In addition, Lipa na M-PESA will also help traders enhance business efficiency."
Safaricom will make sure to emphasize its 17 million M-PESA customer base in its marketing campaigns. The company will harp the implications of having access to such a large consumer market to merchants. Moreover, Safaricom will communicate how M-PESA aims to improve secure and fast payments on the traders' end as well as the consumers'.
The extension of M-PESA services will also aid in narrowing the emerging market's financial exclusion as well as continuing to drive Kenya's cashless project.
BizTech Africa reported that Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, commented, "Lipa na M-PESA is one of the ways through which we want to make mobile money work in micro-transactions."
"We want the mama mboga to tell you that it is ok to pay for your sukuma via M-PESA or for the kibanda guy to say it is ok for our customers to pay for a plate of food via M-PESA. In the end, we want M-PESA to be celebrated not because it is a clever product; but because it is a product that is giving practical solutions to everyday problems."