NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 1- Telecommunication solutions firm Safaricom has announced a major tariff review that will enable more Kenyans in the low income segment to access its mobile money transfer service, M-PESA.
In the changes that are geared towards promoting the financial inclusion agenda in Kenya, registered customers will now be able to send or receive amounts as low as Sh10 from the previous limit of Sh50 effective immediately.
Transfer charges within this band will be pegged at Sh3.
“It was very clear to us when we undertook this tariff review that we were in a unique position to extend the benefits of financial inclusion to more Kenyans, particularly those in lower income groups who rely very heavily on our service,” Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said.
The review also makes it easier for customer make micro-payments from as low as Sh10 to Sh49 per month.
Introduced in 2007, the service had over 15.2 million customers and about 35,000 agent outlets countrywide. Over 700 organisations accept bill payment via M-PESA and a further 300 are bulk payment partners.
The company has also introduced 11 new tariff bands as it aims to rationalise the previous disparities between transaction amounts and charges levied for the same.
At the same time, the transaction fees for the band which lies between Sh101 and Sh500 and which accounts for over a quarter of all M-PESA transactions has been lowered by 16.6 percent to Sh25.
This firm hopes that the move will spur more transactions.
“We are particularly conscious of the fact that about seven in ten adults in Kenya now have access to some form of mobile money service and as the pioneers in this space, we have a specific role to ensure that our service remains affordable to everyone,” Collymore stressed.
However, Safaricom hopes to make up for the reductions by increasing the levies charged on transferring larger amounts.
For instance, a customer who sends Sh501 to Sh5,000 will pay a transaction charge of Sh30 while those sending Sh5,001 to Sh20,000 will part with Sh50.
Amounts ranging between 20,001 and Sh45,000 will attract a Sh75 levy while the fee for those that lie within the Sh45,001 and 70,000 band will be Sh100.
Previously, the charge for sending Sh100 to Sh35,000 was Sh30 while a fee of Sh60 would be deducted for a transaction ranging from Sh35,001 to Sh70,000.
The withdrawal charges have also gone up and will range from Sh45 to Sh300.
“We have had to increase the charges levied on the bigger amounts being transferred. This is motivated, in large part, by the need to give greater incentives to our growing agent network to embrace higher value transactions, while improving overall efficiency for our customers, particularly float availability,” the CEO added.