The two new MPESA features everyone loves

mpesa features

There is something I asked Safaricom to do in this article, but they didn’t listen. The suggestion was that instead of charging customers to send money via MPESA, the recipient could just incur the entire cost of both sending and receiving the cash. This could even give them a marketing slogan – send money for free! Charging for sending money on MPESA has actually forced Safaricom to implement two MPESA features meant to deter people from depositing money directly to recipients’ accounts. The features are: 1. the requirement that a depositor must be within the premises of the Agent, and 2. that the depositor must provide his or her ID number for the agent to input in his/her phone. Two problems that could be dealt with by simply removing the sending fees.

Before I highlight the two new MPESA features that seem to have impressed virtually everyone, let me share with you the one thing that I so much love about MPESA on mySafaricom App – and it has everything to do with paying regular bills via Lipa Na MPESA. Before mySafaricom App came into being, the alternative for paying regular bills with difficult to remember account numbers was to save both the Pay Bill Number and the associated account number as phone numbers. mySafaricom App has made sure you no longer need to save any Pay Bill Number or Account Number as phone numbers, as all you need to do is to  Save both the Pay Bill Number and the Account Number in “My Bills” shortcut, then the App will forever remember both of the numbers, whether you uninstall the App to reinstall in some future dates – as long as the Safaricom number associated with the App remains intact. Thus, when in the future you want to pay your Kenya Power Bill or whatever other Bill, all you will have to do is to pop up the App, navigate to the Bill, enter amount, enter MPESA PIN, and send.

MPESA features

One of the two MPESA Features that everyone loves

mySafaricom App received a major update about two months ago and in the major update a very important feature was incorporated, the ability to input the MPESA PIN right within the App, so the App is no longer required to call onto the SIM Toolkit to pop up the PIN interface. Relying on the SIM Toolkit (which uses USSD technology), meant that users had to wait for the App for more than enough seconds before they could execute the transaction. After the upgrade however, what mySafaricom App users are enjoying is an MPESA feature that allows them to instantly input the PIN right within the App just at the moment the PIN is needed. By the way if you try sending money via the App to another network the app will still use the SIM Toolkit option for inputting the PIN.

MPESA features
The new PIN interface that is incorporated right within the App

Then the ability to add withdrawal fees

The ability to input MPESA PIN right within the mySafaricom App has made using the app so seamless, so interesting, so intuitive – effortless, and that’s why people love it. But the App comes with another lovely feature – the ability to add the exact amount in withdrawal fees, although it’s inclusion also means recipients are likely not going to receive the “tuma na ya kutoa” amount. I’ll explain why shortly.

The reason inclusion of withdrawal fees has been loved is because in almost all instances when someone is to send money via MPESA, the sender is always asked to send the money together with withdrawal amount by use of Kenya’s most common phrase, “tuma na ya kutoa”. This normally happens when the recipient has sold a product, hence doesn’t want to eat into his/her profits by just receiving the actual price of the product. However, people normally do not know the exact amount that is required to to withdraw the amount of money being sent, hence normally resort to adding shs 30, shs 50, shs 100, shs 150 etc in addition to the amount being sent. These amounts that the sender adds on top of the amount to be sent are normally higher than the actual withdrawal amount, and that’s why they have come to love the added feature of “Add Withdrawal Fees” as the feature automatically adds the fees .

MPESA features

Then the problem. The problem is that the App also tells the sender the actual amount of money he will be charged if he sends the said amount. For instance, if you are to send shs 1500, the total cost on the sender comes to shs 1526, if the person withdrawing agreed to incur the shs 28 withdrawal fees. However, if the sender were to add the shs 28 withdrawal fees, then the transaction jumps to the next band that is charged shs 41 for sending – meaning the sender will have incurred a total of shs 1569. In the previous scenario, if the sender was to send the shs 28 as a separate transaction, then the total cost could have been shs 1554 – that is shs 15 cheaper.

The problem as can be seen is a minor one that will not deter a few from enjoying the “Add withdrawal charges” option. I personally will rarely use it anyway, as I prefer not to send withdrawal fees to those I send money to, but I perfectly understand why it is one of the two beloved new MPESA features available on mySafaricom App.


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