Airtel and Telkom customers can now use the M-Pesa pay bill service

Airtel and Telkom customers will be able to make payments using their M-Pesa pay bill numbers as of the following interoperability milestone.

Leading telecom service provider Safaricom is getting ready to let rivals Airtel and Telkom use the M-Pesa pay bill service.

The second phase of mobile-money merchant interoperability, a project supported by both the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) and the Central Bank of Kenya, are anticipated, to begin with, the service’s opening up to competing networks (CBK).

In April of this year, Safaricom allowed users on competing networks to make direct payments to M-Pesa tills from their mobile wallets by opening up M-Pesa tills to customers from rival operators.

Paybills’ launch by Safaricom completes the cycle of mobile money merchant interoperability, which started with P2P interoperability in Kenya in 2018.

safaricom
A Lipa Na M-Pesa till number on display. Image: [Courtesy]
The CBK has praised the trend toward interoperability in the past and described it as a key tenet for the development of Kenya’s financial systems.

“Without merchant interoperability of mobile money services, customers were forced to use alternative payment methods, including making transfers across networks, when making payments to merchants that are on different networks,” CBK said on April 8.

Since Telkom sees interoperability as essential to expanding the reach of its mobile-money service T-Kash, it has been striving to gain access to M-Pesa Pay bills.

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According to Telkom, customers will be able to make payments using their M-Pesa pay bill numbers as of the following interoperability milestone. It will soon be possible to send and receive money between T-Kash and Airtel Money wallets in addition to sending money from
T-Kash to M-Pesa wallets.

Telkom and Airtel had been blocked from accessing pay bills in the first phase of mobile money merchant interoperability.

  

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