Opening M-Pesa’s Potential For B2B mPayments

Telecommunications firm Safaricom, based in Kenya, has played a significant role in pulling the number of unbanked and underbanked citizens into the world of financial services. The largest way it has done this is through its partnership with Vodafone, which introduced the M-Pesa mobile payments system in the nation, among other African markets.

M-Pesa allows users to link banking to their mobile device, allowing for mobile payments and for banking services, like money transfers through their phones. Now, reports say that Safaricom wants businesses to catch on to the mobile banking trend.

Reports in Finance Magnates yesterday (Sept. 8) said Safaricom has revealed its M-Pesa application programming interface (API) and third-party development forum, meaning other companies can enter into the mobile payments service to pay each other. The telco has stated that its API will be especially useful when it comes to B2B payments.

“We will be organizing workshops to engage our developer community and exchange ideas on the available APIs, as well as any gaps we may need to address,” Safaricom stated regarding the new interface. “We will also be sharing documentation to guide developers to manage these integrations seamlessly, delivering on our promise of nurturing innovation through open systems.”

Reports said the company offered several examples of what an open API could mean for businesses. For instance, sellers could send messages to confirm payment receipt or processing, as well as payment confirmation, to reduce the occurrence of bill payment errors.

Considering M-Pesa’s recent partnership with MTN Mobile Money to facilitate cross-border payments in the region, the corporate use of mobile payments through the M-Pesa platform could have broader effects geographically, too.

The new interface opens up mobile payment options for consumer-to-business and business-to-consumer payments as well, the firm said.

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