Safaricom waives Mpesa transaction fee amid virus outbreak
By Daisy Okanga
Mobile telecom operator Safaricom has waived its transaction fee on mobile money transfer M-Pesa for transactions below Ksh 1000. This is aimed at reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus through the physical handling of cash.
In a press notice, Safaricom said on Monday that the waiver, which takes effect from Tuesday, March 16, was made following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that mobile service providers explore ways of deepening mobile money usage in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.
At the same time, Safaricom has approved the increase of daily M-Pesa transaction limits from the current Ksh70,000 to Ksh150,000 to cater for small and micro business enterprises (SMEs). Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Ksh.300,000 up from the current limit of Ksh.140,000, and hold up to Ksh.300,000 in their M-Pesa accounts.
CBK data shows that mobile money is the leading mode of cashless payments in the country with eight out of 10 cashless transactions being done on mobile phones. The Central Bank of Kenya has also approved an increase of the daily transaction limit to 300,000 shillings per person from the current 140,000 shillings, Safaricom said in a statement.
With about 27 million M-Pesa active subscribers every month, Safaricom boasts of 18 million transactions daily.
President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the nation to embrace cashless method of doing business by using either Mpesa or “plastic” money as this will cut down on the handling of cash. Kenya has three cases of the virus so far.