CBK stays order suspending bank to mobile money (and vice-versa) charges

At the President’s directive, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) was tasked with reviewing the transaction fees charged by operators of mobile money platforms, like M-Pesa, as well as fees charged by financial institutions like banks to facilitate bank-to-mobile money (and vice-versa) transactions.

The end result was an announcement made on March 16, 3 days after the country started implementing stringent measures meant to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

The announcement suspended transaction fees charged by operators of mobile money platforms for amounts below Kshs 1,000. It also suspended, in entirety, fees charged for the use of mobile banking platforms to transfer money to and from mobile wallets.

Other measures announced then include the raising of the transaction limit to Kshs 150,000 per transaction and Kshs 300,000 daily.

The measures were to last for a period of 3 months. That period has since elapsed and, just as is the lockdown situation in the country, was up for review.

In a statement released today, the Central Bank has announced that the status quo remains for the remainder of the year i.e. till December 31, 2020.

While this is certainly good news to users, the statement avoids clarifying on a thorny issue that the Central Bank governor promised to address: whether the suspension of transaction fees for amounts below Kshs 1,000 applies beyond person-to-person transactions which is what they have been limited to on mobile money platforms like M-Pesa.

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