Safaricom has announced that the number of businesses using its popular Lipa na M-PESA service has now crossed the 200,000 mark. The milestone highlights the popularity of the M-PESA service as a preferred mode of payment by businesses in Kenya.

Safaricom has reported that the growth has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic where cashless transactions has been encouraged and transaction charges have been slashed for transaction below KShs 1000.

Lipa na M-PESA is a service that allows businesses to receive and make payment using M-PESA, which is different from the traditional M-PESA service targeting individuals.

Using Lipa na M-PESA (which means Pay with M-PESA), businesses have access to virtually unlimited transactions as well as different kind of monitoring on the use of the service. It also comes with an API that allows for integration with different systems and automation of payment services using M-PESA.

M-PESA on USSD

At the same time, Safaricom has also launched a USSD shortcode that can be used to access M-PESA. Starting September 2020, M-PESA users will be able to access the service by dialing *334# from their phones.

Although USSD shortcodes are popular with mobile money providers in many places, M-PESA was only accessible through the SIM tool kit menu. This posed challenges to some users sometimes when the menu could not be accessed, or those who had to go through various steps to access the SIM toolkit.

The use of USSD to access M-PESA could also open new opportunity for M-PESA to be used on other networks outside Safaricom, although it is highly unlikely that Safaricom will take that route. With a mobile money market share of 98.8%, Safaricom is likely to continue using M-PESA to lock in users in its network.

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