1.6m additional customers now using mobile money since March as CBK extends Covid-19 measures to December

The new users push mobile money subscribers in Kenya to 60 million, against the country’s population of 47.5 million citizens, meaning that a sizeable population has more than one mobile money account.

The limits put in place by CBK on mobile money transactions from March 16th will now be in force until December 31, 2020, to cushion Kenyans from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency measures, which include the scrapping of charges for mobile money transactions of up to Sh1,000, were meant to facilitate increased use of mobile money transactions instead of cash.

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CBK noted that there has been a significant increase in the use of mobile money channels by individuals in both value and number of transactions.

“Most of the increase was in low-value transactions of Sh1,000 or less – this band accounts for over 80 percent of mobile money transactions and charges were eliminated, which has helped cushion the most vulnerable households,” said the regulator.

However, CBK said business-related transactions have declined marginally, reflecting the depressed business activity that has seen operating hours limited to 7 pm initially and now to 9 pm.

CBK noted that these measures were timely and highly effective in facilitating official and personal transfers “at a time of great need.”

In addition to the scrapped charges of amounts up to Sh1,000, CBK revised tariffs for transactions above Sh70,000 and removed charges levied by Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and commercial banks for transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.

In May, Safaricom had said they have been losing about Sh1.8 billion every month by offering free M-Pesa service for transactions below Sh1,000. The extension of the measures to December will see the telco forfeit over Sh16 billion over the 9 months.

Meanwhile, some customers have rooted for the emergency measures to be made permanent post-COVID19.