Most individuals in Kenya use M-Pesa to send money to friends, family and acquaintances. The downside of this is that Safaricom double charges you. Yes, that is the truth. You will have to pay a certain fee depending on the amount you are sending. The recipient will also still have to part with another fee depending on the amount they are withdrawing. This is literally equivalent to double taxation.
Sometimes I wonder why don’t we all just open bank accounts since depositing into a bank account is free and withdrawing from an ATM machine is a constant average of Ksh.30 irrespective of the amount you are withdrawing. Another downside is that you cannot transfer money from M-Pesa to any other network subscriber like Orange Money and Airtel Money.
Airtel Kenya was the first mobile service provider to allow transfer of funds across networks. Airtel Money customers can transfer funds from their mobile wallets to any Safaricom or Orange subscriber. How convenient is that? Apart from being able to send money to an M-Pesa or Orange Money user from Airtel Money, you get to send the money at zero charge. You are not required to pay any fee when sending money to a fellow Airtel Money user or a user in a different network.
How to Send Money from Airtel Money to a Safaricom/Orange subscriber
- Dial *222# from your Airtel line.
- Choose option 1 Airtel Money Menu
- In the next dialog choose your preferred language.
- Then chose option 1 Send Money
- In the dialog box that follows Enter Mobile Number. If you are sending to a Safaricom user enter their Safaricom Number here. If Orange, input their Orange number.
- Then Enter Amount you wish to send
- Then you will be prompted to confirm the details
- Enter your Airtel Money PIN in the next dialog
- Then confirm the details again.
- The recipient will receive a withdrawal PIN which they have to submit to any Airtel shop/agent to receive their funds. The sender will also receive a confirmation message of the transaction details.
NOTE: You get to withdraw from an Airtel agent/shop and NOT from M-Pesa agent or Orange Money agent. Even if you are a Safaricom subscriber but the funds have been transferred from Airtel you will have to withdraw from an Airtel shop/agent.
From my experience with the service the transferred funds are associated with the mobile number of the recipient rather than directly been credited to their M-Pesa account or Orange Money account. Because of this you can literally transfer funds from Airtel Money to ANY network in Kenya for free.
One thing to note is that the recipient has 7 days to collect the funds from an Airtel shop/agent from the time they receive the funds. Failure to withdraw within 7 days will see the funds been transferred back to the sender. Worry not as the sender will not be charged for having the funds transferred back to their Airtel Money account. Now that is superb.
For the withdrawal charges they run from a low of Ksh.10 to a high of Ksh.330. Check the table below for the withdrawal charges for different brackets:
|MIN||MAX||Withdrawal Charges From Airtel Money Agent|
As you can clearly see the withdrawal charges aren’t that appealing. They are just as exorbitant as Safaricom’s. Airtel’s only saving grace is the fact that they do not charge for sending money. Sending money is totally free to any network. Through this move the customer is saved from double charge. But the bottom line remains it is extremely and fairly cheaper to withdraw from your banks ATM rather than these mobile money providers. Why don’t we as Kenyans adapt Banking to the maximum? The banks also need to roll out their ATM machines to more locations to facilitate their accessibility.
The only request I have for Airtel is that they should integrate the service with the other mobile money providers such that the funds can be credited directly to the recipients accounts be it M-Pesa or Orange Money. This will also solve the need to have the withdrawal limit time imposed which I still don’t understand why it exists in the first place. Or maybe by cooperating with the other mobile service providers will force them to charge for transfers and we don’t want that happening?