You may or may not have heard of Mula. Its makers, Cellulant, a Kenyan technology company with a presence across the continent that is a leader in digital payments, describe it as a “bill payment and airtime purchase app”.
That is pretty accurate since Mula, an Android-only application, lets users buy airtime from any of the Kenyan mobile network operators as well as letting users pay for utilities like their electricity bills, electricity tokens, parking within Nairobi city, water bills as well as TV subscriptions (Zuku, DSTV and GoTV).
When used to pay any such bill, this is where its brilliance kicks in. It will remind the user to make the payment(s) on time next time.
Personally, I have been using the Mula app since January for just one purpose: for buying airtime for my rarely used Airtel line from Safaricom’s M-PESA, something that is usually quite a hassle to do directly from Safaricom’s mobile money platform.
A feature of the Mula app that has not been operational since the app became available as a private beta late last year and publicly early this year is the ability to make payments using money held in accounts at financial institutions like banks or deposit money into their bank accounts from mobile money services (or something like that). That feature, Pay to Banks, has been marked as “coming soon” on the app which I have always understood to mean “under development” with the menu acting as a placeholder of sorts.
As someone who regularly uses banking apps like KCB’s app and Equity Bank’s Eazzy app, I have been looking forward to seeing how the feature will be implemented. The former was recently updated to bring utility/bill payments front and centre just like the Mula app while the latter has been built around making it easy to pay for goods and services straight from one’s bank account, bypassing the need to transfer money from a bank account to a mobile money service.
However, as fate would have it, it appears that the feature may either be a long way off or not anywhere on the horizon at all. This is because the latest update to the Mula app, version 2.3.1, does away with the Pay to Banks menu in the application, something that was available in the previous version 18.104.22.168.
No reason has been given for the removal of the feature (which was never there anyway) and it is not even mentioned in the app update’s Play Store changelog.
I have reached out to Cellulant on the matter.