M-PESA is increasing its presence in Kenya, and has introduced Lip Na M-PESA. The new service will allow Kenyan residents to place transactions with supporting online merchants using their M-PESA account.
M-PESA is a micro financing service for transferring funds between mobile devices with SMS text messages. The service was made available in Kenya in 2007, and its popularity grew rapidly, reaching over 17 million users by 2011. M-PESA allows it users to withdraw and deposit funds, transfer funds to other users, pay utility bills, purchase airtime, and transfer funds from the user’s bank account to their M-PESA account. M-PESA has also added Bitcoin support to the service earlier this year. The M-PESA service is supported by Kenyan-based mobile service provider Safaricom, and Vodafone.
With the growth rate of internet connectivity in Kenya, it has become crucial to be able to offer online payment options. When an order is placed online, the user needs to enter their phone number and they will be given a PIN code via an SMS text message. Once the PIN code is entered the M-PESA account is debited.
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“Lipa Na M-PESA online is part of M-PESA’s overall agenda to lead the evolution of the payments landscape in Kenya. The entry of M-PESA into the online space is a landmark move that will see more than 18 million M-PESA customers gain access to the online shopping experience either as entrepreneurs or as customers,” said Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore on the new service.
Internet connectivity becomes common place in developing countries, and over 14 million Kenyans are already online. Finding an online payment solution for them is vital.