Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cheers and Jeers for M-PESA

What a juggernaut this Safaricom has become that I find myself unable to get myself excited to blog about anything else but Safaricom. I'll keep this short though:

First the cheers.

Anyone with a new Safaricom sim card would have noticed two additional menus under the M-PESA section: 'Buy Goods' and 'ATM Withdrawal'. Very exciting stuff, I can already see myself buying groceries at Tusky's with my phone and withdrawing cash from my M-PESA account at the ATM (24 hour availability of cash, the last frontier for M-PESA withdrawals!)

Now the Jeers

There is a service known as 'Pay Bill' that has been on the M-PESA section for a long time but is grossly under-exploited. The Pay Bill service is the key to e-commerce in Kenya and can operate similar to PayPal, but Safaricom are being a real pain in the a** in opening this service to merchants. I applied for this back in April and was asked for nearly 10 documents (company certificate of incorporation, pin documents, CR-12, VAT certificate etc.) which I managed to secure after almost 3 months. One more request however stumped me, Safaricom asked for a 'license that permits me to collect money, and not my trading license' WTF??? Does one need a license to sell goods. Safaricom really need to get their act together, otherwise someone is going to steal their thunder with a 3rd party service, maybe that will be me... hmmm.