Kenyans Take Advantage of Free M Pesa to Transact Sh392.17 Billion in June
Kevin Namunwa  |  Aug 6, 2020

Money transacted through mobile phones in Kenya has hit an all-time monthly high following the government’s waiver of fees for sending up to Ksh1,000 and free bank-to-mobile wallet transfer.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) directed telcos to waive the fees as a measure to reduce the physical exchange of money hence curb the spread of the virus. The amount of money transacted via mobile phones rebounded from a 26-month low in April to hit an all-time high in June.

According to a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), Households and business closed deals amounting to Sh392.17 billion setting a new record in mobile payments during the month (June) when President Uhuru Kenyatta extended business operating hours for the first time since April.

The data collected by KNBS shows the value of June’s mobile transactions represented a 9.74% growth over May’s value and a 13.07% jump over the value of June 2019.

CBK, bankers, and telcos in March reached a three-month agreement that waived for mobile transfers of less than Sh1,000 to encourage cashless payments.

However, telcos, led by Safaricom, have protested to CBK citing that their profits have since plunged.

Safaricom had earlier said that the free M-Pesa service had seen it lose an average of Sh1.8 billion monthly since mid-March, a pointer that it could miss sales of up to Sh16.2 billion in the nine months to December.

Despite telcos’ cry of losses, Kenyans are taking advantage of the waiver on mobile transaction charges and are dealing lots of cash through mobile phones.