In 2016, Safaricom (SCOM), arguably Kenya’s most innovative company announced it was working on a payments card with the view accelerating payments on its M-Pesa mobile money service. The card was set to mirror the M-pesa account of the user such that whatever balance you have on your M-Pesa wallet mirrors in your card.
The telco has today announced the official launch of M-Pesa One Tap offering which includes the card, a Wrist band and NFC badge. The M-Pesa One Tap seeks to improve customer experience in payments while using the mobile money service. The solution will also extend to merchants receiving payments directly via M-Pesa or via the Lipa na M-Pesa card.
The first commercial roll out of the payment solution has been launched in Nakuru after a successful pilot phase which has been ongoing for the last 6 months. As of yesterday, more than 13,000 customers and 900 merchants in Nakuru had registered for the service.
Safaricom targets 500,000 point of sale (POS) payment points across Kenya including bars and restaurants, retail shops, fuel stations, among others. Its worth noting that consumers that buy goods using the service won’t be charged, with the exception of petrol station tariffs.
How M-Pesa Tap & Go solution for Card, NFC & Wearable Devices works
From the merchant side, all the customer needs to do is tap their cards on the mobile POS machines. The POS units are small and can even be placed around the neck while the merchant walks on the street.
The TAP AND GO NFC technology has been executed in 3 main means.
First, if a customer has an NFC enabled phone all they need to do is tap the phone on the POS type in their PIN and the payment will be made.
Second, if the customer does not have an NFC enabled device all they need to do is get an NFC STICKER that they can stick on the back of the phone, tap and enter the PIN to make payments.
Third, if customers can also opt for the Card the card is directly connected to the customers M-PESA account, customers can tap the card enter their PIN numbers to make payments.
The product is currently being piloted in Nakuru, with merchant recruitment ongoing and the telco will look towards onboarding more merchants to the service.
Convenience and user experience have been the biggest problems for anyone using M-Pesa for both payments and even money transfer. The telco recently launched the M-Pesa App seeking to make it easy for users to send money. The improvements launched on the payments side today mean both customers and merchants will get the much needed convenience.
The decision by the telco not to link the card to both Visa and MasterCard may point towards a new direction as a payments aggregator. In addition, issuing merchants with P.O.S will see M-Pesa conduct Billions in transactions on a daily basis, which gives more credit to out assumption.
We hope to see more integrations that will allow customers to conduct online transactions from paying for apps to checking out on e-commerce sites soon.