Mobile money giant M-Pesa is getting debit card to compete with banks

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Safaricom, parent of the M-Pesa mobile money platform, is eying a piece of the $13.5 billion in annual transactions in Kenya’s payment cards industry with a new debit card. In its pilot stage, the new card, which is largely expected to challenge commercial banks for card commissions, is linked to its Lipa na M-Pesa (pay with M-Pesa) service, which enables traders and individuals to settle bills at different points of sale across the country.

 Operating on the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology ecosystem, Safaricom’s M-Pesa debit cards and point-of-sale (POS) terminals will allow consumers to pay for goods and services much quicker on the ‘tap-and-go’ basis. It is best suited for “high-volume, low-value transactions that are typically paid for with cash (pdf)”. A transaction occurs when an NFC-enabled mobile handset is placed near a POS terminal, typically over distances of up to 10 centimetres.
The current payment set-up using M-Pesa is much slower as it requires users to follow through several stages before a transaction is completed. In a typical set-up like the cashier’s till at a supermarket, a buyer is required to input the till number, the amount money due, the M-Pesa PIN and then wait for the transaction to be completed.

Source: Quartz (link opens in a new window)