One year down the line, Safaricom is reporting that the move has resulted in Kenyans using M-Pesa to buy an average of 5,200 applications every month on Google Play, further showing that it is not that Kenyans don’t like buying apps but rather, for long, they had been limited.
Before Safaricom settled on DOCOMO Digital, the Japanese global carrier billing integrator for Google Play, to enable app purchases via M-Pesa, Kenyans were limited to making such payments using either the hard-to-get Google Play vouchers or credit and debit cards, the latter of which there is little adoption in the country when compared to transactions made directly using cash or mobile money services like M-Pesa.
Safaricom’s other partnerships in M-Pesa under the M-Pesa Global umbrella, the M-Pesa platform’s own service tree through which products that have a global focus fall, have equally done well.
According to the company, as captured in its 2018 financial results which were released today, Kenyans have taken advantage of the M-Pesa-PayPal integration, rolled out last year, with 11,000 transacting every month.
Over the last half year, Safaricom has expanded its M-Pesa Global focus to include allowing its 22.6 million M-Pesa users access to over half a million cash agents and over 3 billion bank accounts around the world through its partnership with Western Union.
It has also recently partnered with the world’s largest fintech services provider, Ant Financial Services, to allow Kenyans shopping on China-based online retail service AliExpress’ mobile application to pay via M-Pesa.
Away from M-Pesa’s global focus, locally, Safaricom has, since the start of 2019, allowed M-Pesa users to access an overdraft facility built into service. According to the company, Fuliza, as the facility is known, has already disbursed over Kshs 45 billion as of yesterday.
Fuliza, M-Pesa, PayPal-M-Pesa and other services are easily accessible through Safaricom’s mobile app, mySafaricom. According to the company, the app, which is has over 1 million users (a milestone achieved within its first year) as per Google Play Store data, sees over 700,000 users daily.
Another avenue of accessing Safaricom services, the Zuri chatbot introduced a year ago, has seen over 102,000 unique users, a drop in the ocean that is dominated by short codes (such as *544#, *100# etc) which, with almost 5 million daily users, continue being the preferred means of self-service for the 31.8 million active subscribers on the Safaricom network .
Over 1.5 million subscribers have also opted in to the company’s Jitambulishe voice biometrics service which was introduced last year.