Safaricom waives M-Pesa fees in wake of Covid-19

Monday March 16 2020

An M-Pesa agent at work in Kenya on February 12, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By The EastAfrican

Kenya’s telco Safaricom Plc on Monday waived fees on its mobile money transfer service M-Pesa for transactions below Ksh1,000 ($10).

On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked banks and mobile money providers to consider reducing costs of transactions to allow customers use cashless modes of payment as part of the measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.

Safaricom said all person-to-person transactions below KSh1,000 ($10) shall be free for the next 90 days.

Before the move, it cost between Ksh11 and Ksh15 to transfer cash below Ksh1,000 ($10) on the M-Pesa platform, and up to Ksh28 to withdraw from an M-Pesa agent.

“This means that from tomorrow morning (Tuesday), M-Pesa users will be able to send any amount below Ksh1,000 for free over the next 90 (ninety) days,” Safaricom chief executive Michael Joseph said in a statement.

He added that the decision to waive fees came after Safaricom held a meeting with Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Patrick Njoroge and other industry players to discuss the evolving situation around the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.


Following the meeting, CBK approved the increase of daily M-Pesa transaction limits from the current KSh70,000 ($700) to KSh150,000 ($1,500) specifically to support small and micro business enterprises (SMEs).

Kenyans will also be able to transact up to Ksh300,000 ($3,000) up from the current limit of Ksh140,000 ($1,400) and hold up to Ksh300,000 ($3,000) in their M-Pesa wallets.

Kenya is taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus after three people tested positive for the virus, with another 45 cases being monitored.

CBK data shows that mobile money is the leading mode of cashless payments in the country with eight out of 10 cashless transactions being done on mobile phones.

With about 27 million M-Pesa active subscribers every month, Safaricom boasts of 18 million transactions daily.