A few hours before mobile money interoperability goes live in Kenya, Safaricom has announced a partnership with PayPal and TransferTo that will allow M-Pesa users to receive money from any PayPal account across the world directly into their M-PESA accounts in real time.
Also, it will be possible for PayPal users in Kenya to load their PayPal wallets via M-Pesa PayBill number 800088. PayPal is believed to be using the partnership to target Kenya’s growing e-commerce sector, which is witnessing a surge in transactions as more people turn to online shopping as their appetite for convenience grows.
With this new development, Safaricom is going for Equity Bank’s lunch as far as remittances are concerned. Until now, PayPal withdrawals in Kenya were only possible through Equity Bank. In comparison to Equity Bank, Safaricom’s M-Pesa network is far much more accessible, through its 148,000 M-PESA agents around the country vis-à-vis Equity’s estimated 266 bank branches and 40,000 agents.
The transaction between PayPal and M-Pesa is being powered by TransferTo, a B2B Cross-Border Mobile Payments Network for emerging markets. The money transfer will not be instant, meaning users will not see the amount reflect on their M-Pesa accounts until after a certain period, between four hours and up to 3 days, depending on the amount transferred.
There will also be no transaction charges on withdrawals but Forex charges will apply to the transactions. Deposits to PayPal via Mpesa Paybill will attract Paybill transaction costs.
All transactions are subject to M-Pesa transfer limits, meaning one can only transact a maximum of Kes. 70,000 per transaction with a daily transaction limit of Kes. 140,000. Compared to Equity Bank, this could be a bottleneck as the bank can handle larger amounts of money per transaction.
This move by mother green is in a bid to strengthen its market position as the number one mode of payments in the country, especially with mobile money interoperability right around the corner.