Money trans­fer costs set to fall as Sa­fari­com, Telkom link up

Business Daily (Kenya) - - TOP NEWS - Doreen Wainainah­tion­

Cross-net­work money trans­fer charges be­tween Sa­fari­com and Telkom Kenya will drop by up to 76 per cent as the two tel­cos in­te­grate their mo­bile phone ac­counts on Thurs­day.

Telkom’s T-kash and Sa­fari­com’s M-pesa cus­tomers will send and re­ceive money di­rectly across net­works into their mo­bile money ac­counts in the se­cond phase of the ser­vice dubbed in­ter­op­er­abil­ity.

The first phase went live in April with Sa­fari­com and Air­tel al­low­ing the trans­fer of funds di­rectly from one provider’s mo­bile ac­count into the other.

The sys­tem , for in­stance, al­lows an M-pesa cus­tomer to send money, which will be re­flected in real time in the re­cip­i­ent’s T-kash ac­count and the trans­ac­tion charge would also be sim­i­lar as send­ing to a reg­is­tered user on the same net­work. Send­ing Sh1,000 from T-kash to M-pesa will drop to Sh10 from the cur­rent Sh35 charge, a 71 per cent re­duc­tion in cost.

Sim­i­larly, send­ing Sh1,000 from M-pesa to T-kash will drop to Sh11 from Sh45, a 76 per cent drop in charges.

The cost of cross net­work trans­fer for reg­is­tered users within both net­works will drop from a band of be­tween Sh35 and Sh309 to a low of Sh10 to a max­i­mum Sh105.

Pre­vi­ously, Sa­fari­com and Telkom had la­belled its ri­vals as non-reg­is­tered users, mean­ing the cash trans­ferred across the net­work at­tracted higher charges.

This also means that cross net­work trans­fers lim­its be­tween Sa­fari­com and Telkom will move to a max­i­mum Sh70,000 up from Sh35,000.

“To­day, Sa­fari­com and Tel­com have an­nounced in­te­gra­tion of their mo­bile plat­forms al­low­ing cus­tomers to trans­fer funds from M-pesa to T-kash and vice versa,” said a state­ment by the mo­bile net­work providers on Sun­day.

The cross-net­work money trans­fer ser­vice will help smaller mo­bile money op­er­a­tors to boost trans­fers on their net­work. Sa­fari­com cur­rently con­trols 81 per cent of 29 mil­lion ac­tive mo­bile money sub­scrip­tions, Air­tel has 11 per cent while Telkom which re­launched its mo­bile money ser­vice this year is at 0.1 per cent. Telkom has pre­vi­ously plugged into Sa­fari­com’s mo­bile ac­count al­low­ing for the pur­chase of air­time through M-pesa’s pay­bill ser­vice.

This means that a Telkom user puts in the of­fi­cial busi­ness num­ber, and their tele­phone num­ber as the ac­count and once paid, it re­flects as air­time on their phone.

This sys­tem has been dis­ad­van­ta­geous for those who re­ceive cash from a net­work with fewer agents across the coun­try, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult and te­dious to make with­drawals. Telkom and Air­tel will in­te­grate their mo­bile money ac­counts in the fi­nal phase at a later date, which in the state­ment by the tel­cos is once the nec­es­sary pro­cesses are com­plete.

A cus­tomer uses Sa­fari­com’s M-pesa plat­form . -FILE

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