Safaricom Upgrades M-Pesa Platform To Enable Mobile E-Commerce Payments

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli

East African mobile giant Safaricom’s M-Pesa has been upgraded so that enhanced features such as mobile e-commerce payments can be added to the mobile money transfer platform.

The popular Kenyan money transfer system was upgraded last week, with a service interruption of 13 hours explained as necessary to enable new features which will be added to M-Pesa in the coming months, according to ITNewsAfrica.

Upgraded to support new capabilities, some of these will include platform enhancements in cooperation with partner companies, one of the expected features includes mobile e-commerce payments.

Bob Collymore, the CEO of Safaricom, explained that upgrades would aim to be as efficient as possible in order to not disrupt customer transactions, while enabling enhanced features and functionality.

“Safaricom has put in place measures to ensure a smooth transition during the upgrade, which will provide our customers and partners with more features and capabilities in the future,” said Collymore, according to Techmoran.

M-Pesa enhanced, mobile e-commerce payments expected

This upgrade takes place two years after the Kenyan company deployed a new local platform that enhanced the system’s capacity, Biznews reports.

With new customers added to the platform consistently, and around 26 million people now using M-Pesa to undertake around 10.5 million transactions per day, further capacity enhancements were necessary.

In August, Safaricom announced the release of revamped M-Pesa Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), providing the capabilities for developers to build and deploy their solutions on top of the platform, according to AfricaBusinessCommunities.

In partnership with African Payment Solutions, for example, users can now accept M-Pesa for e-commerce payments in Kenya through a simple Application Programming Interface.

The East African mobile operator has been busy of late, and at the end of August the world’s biggest mobile money operator announced the impending launch of an e-commerce platform of their own that will be focused on supporting and enabling small businesses to sell their products online.

The aim of Masoko, as the e-commerce platform will be called, will be to give small and micro businesses access to markets that they would otherwise be unable to reach with their products, according to CNBCAfrica.

It will initially launch in Kenya this October, but will then be available to other parts of Africa, allowing a person in Nigeria to buy products from businesses based in Kenya, for example.

It will compete directly with the likes of Takealot, Jumia and Kilimall, stocking products in categories that include fashion, cosmetics, electronics and even beverages.