Freelancer and JobnetAfica's guest blogger Jane Watson, has written another relevant and interesting article, this time about game changer M-Pesa. Leading statistics have shown that M-Pesa has over 21 million active subscribers who are making an average of 12 transactions each month. M-Pesa has been an undeniable force since it debuted on the Kenyan market. A service provided by Safaricom, it has been replicated across other network platforms with varying degrees of success. It's almost certain that even the developers did not grasp the extent of the potential that this little invention would have. It has completely changed the way the economy works, and was this understood just a few short years back: for instance, it has opened up a whole new job sector with the growing need for M-Pesa agents. Granted, M-Pesa is not a new entrance in the market, but many would agree that it has not even tapped 10% of its potential, especially in business.
Understanding The Concept
M-Pesa was designed as a mobile-money service that made it possible to send and receive money on your phone. Before M-Pesa, the only way to send money was either to send it by Post or to transfer it between bank accounts. But M-Pesa came and changed all that, and not only in ease of sending money, but also in making online business both attractive and lucrative. It didn't take long before M-Pesa prowess was an important consideration when building a digital marketing team to drive marketing efforts. It's not sufficient to simply advertise your business online, it is also necessary to make it easy for your clients to pay you virtually as well. So what has M-Pesa brought to the business market?
Easily Buy Goods And Pay For Services
If nothing else, let it be said that M-Pesa revolutionised the informal sector using its 'Lipa Na M-Pesa' feature. The term is a Swahili phrase that translates to 'Pay with M-Pesa'. The service allows small and medium enterprises to accept instant cashless payments from their customers. All the business owner has to do is apply for a till number from a Safaricom provider, and they can accept mobile-payments for their goods and services in real time. The till number application is pretty simple, and Safaricom only takes a small facilitation fee for each transaction. The service has been extremely attractive to small-scale traders who find it more convenient and effective than dealing with cash. It has also made it much easier to sell and buy things online, owing to its affordability and reliability. It is now common practice to find that grocers, shop-keepers and even the local tailor has a Lipa na M-Pesa option.
Pay Bill Number
Although part of the same package, the Pay Bill number was created to cater to larger business transactions. Unlike with the till numbers, in this case, it is the customer who covers the facilitation fee. It has, however, made it much easier to access essential services than before. It has made it possible to pay for electricity, water, rent and even school fees right from the comfort of your home. The money is then credited to a unique account number linked to you, which makes it possible to issue a receipt. Because the service is instant, it has made payments through banks almost non-existent.
It is often said that good business is digital business. Other countries are beginning to hop on the M-Pesa bandwagon, and this trend is growing across Africa and other countries around the world.
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