Is it necessary to have a PesaPal account?
There are those things that I never pay attention to, never at all, since, as my subconscious mind would have it, they don’t add any value to my comfort zone, or, they are just those things that aren’t meant for me. I guess PesaPal is one such thing.Until recently I wasn’t aware of problems PesaPal tries to solve – it could be because I remotely thought PesaPal is a PayPal copycat.
Talking of PayPal, it took me years to actually figure out why I needed to have an account with them. When a stranger I was working for online asked me to put up a PayPal account for receiving remittance back in 2008, I asked him why he couldn’t use Western Union instead. Even after he explained the conveniences of PayPal, I declined to open up PayPal, reasoning that giving my financial details to some unknown entities is way too risky, and that’s how I got myself “fired”. But when PayPal partnered with Equity Bank to bring its services locally, I had to learn as much as I could about them.
Back to PesaPal that all along I had thought is a PayPal copycat. On Sunday I paid a visit to a rather casual friend who wasn’t sure of how to pay school fees directly to the school without having to line up in a bank. Being an almost always Internet guy, he wanted an online solution but he didn’t know any.
I’m also almost always an online guy with one advantage over my friend. I know how to use Google. So as my friend was busy complaining about the absence of our schools online, I was busy Googling the terms such as “Pay schools online in Kenya”, “School fees online payment in Kenya” etc etc…and yes, the top results were from PesaPal.
“It seems you can pay school fees to any school using PesaPal”, I told my friend after briefly perusing through the www.pesapal.com. In the PesaPal’s website link on schools, one is allowed to browse through the schools – alphabetically. The only set back is that you cannot search for the name of the school but since schools whose names start with a particular letter of the alphabet are in one page, it is quite easy to find the school of interest.
Then I thought that probably only the renowned schools with proper establishments and IT infrastructure are on the list but I was proved wrong after finding two of my former schools, located in the remotest parts of Nyanza, in the list. One such school is Okok Primary School.
After clicking on the school, I was taken to the page requiring me to enter student details. The details required are Name of Student, Reference e.g. student’s admission number, Payment reason (of course for school fees), and amount to be paid.
Next you are taken to the page that requires you to enter your details namely your name, and email address. Finally, after providing all the necessary details you are taken to the payment methods from which you can choose to pay via your PesaPal account or if you don’t have any yet you can pay using M-PESA.
Paying schools fees using M-PESA on PesaPal
Note, there are schools with Pay Bill numbers directly with M-PESA via the Lipa Karo na M-PESA product, which, by the time of writing this article, had this message,
“We’re sorry, seems the page you are looking for cannot be found. Please go back to safaricom.co.ke.”
One can pay directly to such Pay Bill numbers. However, using PesaPal is a bit different. PesaPal receives monies on behalf of the schools on PesaPal’s own M-PESA Pay Bill number, holds such monies received on behalf of the school, notifies the school in question once the monies have been received, and the school “collects” the money held in trust from PesaPal.
The advantage of this is that since not all schools have a direct Pay Bill number with M-PESA, using PesaPal, one can still pay schools using M-PESA even to schools without M-PESA Pay Bill numbers.
The PesaPal screen where you can make payment using M-PESA looks like this:
Well, after going through all that process it really hit me that I actually needed to have a PesaPal account, but no, I do not have school fees to pay yet. Are there any products or services I could buy via PesaPal?
Browsing through the website I realized there are a number of services and products that one can pay for using PesaPal. These include bill payments, buying airtime, buying events’ tickets, and even shopping online.
Paying for bills is actually not that much as there are only four service providers that allow you to pay for their bills using PesaPal. The four guys are Dstv, Gotv, Zuku and JTL (the faimba guys).
On buying airtime I thought that PesaPal would allow me to buy Safaricom airtime from Airtel or even Orange money, but no, you can only buy airtime from your network’s mobile money service or use the PesaPal credit – So if you have money on Airtel Money but you want to use it to buy Safaricom airtime, you’ll need to first transfer it to PesaPal account; I hope that’s possible.
What PesaPal seem to have done right is to come up with ticketsasa.com, a portal that lists most upcoming events, and by use of PesaPal, one can buy the tickets online. Next time you are wondering what’s going on and where, be sure to pass by ticketsasa. Maybe you knew about that already, but well, I didn’t. I just did a quick search on the trending Thika sevens – too bad the tickets are not available on Ticketsasa.
And yes, you can do your online shopping and let PesaPal assist you with making that payment. Good news is that you can shop for Bata products and pay via PesaPal. For other shopping needs, Rupu.co.ke and Fargoshopping.co.ke (that I will highlight in a few days) are your shopping portals to visit. This page lists everyone that has partnered with PesaPal to better your online shopping experience.
So yes, PesaPal is not a PayPal copycat. Paypal is a platform for online money remittance (or the bitcoin of Western Union) whereas PesaPal is an integrated online payment platform, and yes, you should have a PesaPal account for both making and receiving payment. Next I will talk about using PesaPal to receive payment, especially if you intend to make that sale on OLX.