Customers to make paybill payments regardless of mobile money wallet

Kenyans can now make seamless mobile money payments regardless of their network following the coming to effect of full mobile money interoperability.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) says the launch of a paybill interoperability will enable merchants receive payments from various mobile money wallets used by customers such as Airtel’s Airtel Money, T-Kash by Telkom Kenya  and M-pesa by Safaricom.

“With pay bill interoperability, customers can now make payments for utilities, schools, businesses, and other service providers, without regard to the network they are on. This complements the till interoperability that was launched on April 8, 2022, which allows customers to make payments at supermarkets, restaurants and other vendors regardless of the network,” said CBK.

CBK says in turn, the pay bill interoperability builds on the person-to-person (P2P) interoperability that was implemented in 2018.

The latest move is expected to foster competition in the mobile money payment segment which is currently dominated by Safaricom’s M-pesa services which handled more than 95pc of mobile money transaction as March this year.

Out of the Ksh 1.3 trillion value of deposits handled via mobile money in the third quarter of the year ending March 31, 2022, M-pesa accounted for Ksh. 1.2 trillion of the transaction, followed by Airtel Money with Ksh 1.5 billion and T-Kash with Ksh 84 million.

Due to unavailability of paybill interoperability, many consumers with different mobile money wallets have been locked out of Safaricom paybill system.

“Without full interoperability, customers were limited to the network they were on in order to make payments, and had to resort to alternative methods that were neither customer friendly nor affordable. Now, for the first time, it will not matter what network a customer, vendor, or other biller is on in order to complete a payment directly. This in turn means the elimination of inconveniences and wasteful duplication,” added CBK.

CBK expects the introduction of paybill interoperability to benefit more than 560,000 vendors and billers, and almost 28 million customers through seamless payments ecosystem.

Full interoperability is now expected to facilitate the deepening of the digitalisation of payments, increasing choice, affordability and customer-centricity of payment services, a key outcome outlined in the National Payments Strategy 2022-2025.

This will bring us closer to attaining the vision of “a secure, fast, efficient and collaborative payments system that supports financial inclusion and innovations that benefit Kenyans,” stated CBK.


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