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Safaricom lines up M-Pesa for minors

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By Judith Gicobi

Safaricom is planning to offer an M-Pesa service for minority clients as part of a strategy to secure its subscriber base at a young age and ensure potential income from the payments platform.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa made the announcement at the company’s investor meeting last week, but he didn’t go into much detail because the product is still in progress.

“In terms of the junior account, we do not want to announce at this stage but what we have signalled is that we are working with the regulator to see how we could come up with a product that is usable to individuals who are below 18 who currently do not have a product that meets their needs,” he said.

Safaricom’s top income source, M-Pesa, has grown to 30 million active customers, raking in Sh107 billion in the year to March 2022.

“We’ve seen significant improvement in M-Pesa usage both on the individual side in the average number of transactions per customer which have almost doubled and also on the merchant side,” said Mr Ndegwa.

Several major banking institutions offer an unique junior account with savings, fee payments, and club membership among other services for children and their parents.

In the face of increased competition, a junior version of the M-Pesa app will be the first in the country’s fintech sector and might provide Safaricom with a consistent stream of subscribers.

Mr Ndegwa stated that Safaricom will guarantee that the product is safe for minors to use and will include a parental supervision feature.

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“It will have restrictions on what those individuals can do because they are minors and also it will have parental controls, which is one of the most important features that was not available.”

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