With the coming of M-Pesa, everything has changed rapidly. Earlier if the people had to send money to someone at home or elsewhere, they had to go to the bank or to an automated teller machine, withdraw money, and deposit it with an M-Pesa agent, transfer it to the person and then that person had to go to an agent and withdraw the money.
But, all this has changed as commercial banks have linked up with the mobile phone money transfer platform, making it very easy for people to deposit funds directly from their bank accounts to the M-Pesa or similar platform, from where it would be transferred directly to the recipient.
Most of the mobile money platforms have added new features to the platforms that makes it easy for people to do day-to-day transactions such as paying school fees, salaries, buying groceries, paying bills, or purchasing books. Kenyans are now happy that they do not have to waste their time standing in ques at a bank or for paying utility bills.
It is found that the amount of money being transacted between individuals and businesses has steadily gone up. If figures are any indication, the amount of transfers between January and September this year was an astonishing Sh.1.117 trillion as compared to Sh.829.62 billion transferred over the first nine months of last year.
People have indicated that they are now using their mobiles for transacting all types of business such as transfers, sales, and purchases. It is also found that people are using money transfer platforms like M-Pesa more than earlier. This is evident from the fact that other mobile operators have started their own mobile transfer platforms.
Airtel has its own money transfer platform called Airtel Money, while Yu has started YuCash, and Orange has Orange Money, while other mobile operators like Tangaza and Mobikash are connected to banking platforms of some bank or the other.
Bob Collymore, chief executive officer Safaricom, revealed that 25 banks have so far linked up with the M-Pesa platform and more and more banks are offering mobile banking with interfaces for money transfer services.
Mark Adoyo, KCB Group senior manager, money transfer services, said that these platforms which have been integrated with M-Pesa have increased the value of transactions as all these money transfers can be done directly from one single point sitting in the comfort of your home or office.
Prominent banks such as KCB Group, Equity, Barclays, Cooperative, Standard Chartered, CfC Stanbic and others have made it easy for their customers to access their accounts and perform transactions through their mobile phones. It is not just mobile transactions that are showing an upward trend but also the use of debit cards which are being used for shopping and other purchases.
Habil Olaka, chief executive officer of the Kenya Bankers Association said even though traditionally plastic money was treated as a status symbol, it was now accepted by ordinary customers as a convenient means of conducting transactions. The growth in plastic money transactions and mobile money transfers is an indication that the society was beginning to accept the use of alternative methods of payment which are more efficient and secure.
According to CBK September alone saw a transfer of Sh. 130.69 billion done by its consumers throughout the country while Safaricom revealed that its customers had used its platform to transfer Sh. 80 billion during the subject month.