In response to concerns over the periodic outages of Safaricom’s M-Pesa service, Pesalink, owned by the Kenya Bankers Association, has announced plans to introduce a merchant payment option to compete with Safaricom’s Lipa na M-Pesa feature. The move aims to provide an alternative for users who have expressed worries about relying solely on M-Pesa for their financial transactions.

Pesalink’s Current Status

Pesalink, initially launched in 2017 as a real-time interbank switch, primarily facilitates business-related transactions such as bulk payments, invoices, and rent. The platform connects various banks, payment service providers, SACCOs, and telecommunication companies, offering a seamless process for bank-to-bank transfers and peer-to-peer transactions.

Merchant Payment Option

Acknowledging the need for a broader set of features, Pesalink has revealed its plans to introduce a merchant payment option. While the company currently emphasizes business-related transactions, the upcoming feature aims to directly compete with Safaricom’s Lipa na M-Pesa, providing users with more choices for their financial transactions.

Timeline and Rollout

Although Pesalink has confirmed the development of the merchant payment option, no specific timeline for its rollout has been provided. Users are eagerly anticipating further details regarding the release date and features of this new offering.

Market Penetration Challenges

Despite being a cost-effective digital transfer service, Pesalink has faced challenges in achieving widespread adoption. The higher number of mobile money account holders compared to bank account holders in Kenya has contributed to this limited penetration. With Safaricom’s M-Pesa being a dominant player, Pesalink aims to address market needs and increase its relevance with the introduction of the new merchant payment option.

Uptake and Mobile Money Statistics

Data from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) indicates that Kenya has 38,432,728 active mobile money subscriptions, representing a penetration level of 75.1 percent. In contrast, 69 percent of Kenyan adults do not have a commercial bank account, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The low market penetration highlights the need for Pesalink to innovate and attract a larger user base.

Final Thoughts

As Pesalink prepares to introduce the merchant payment option, users are hopeful that this move will provide a reliable alternative, especially during M-Pesa outages. The success of this new feature will depend on its accessibility, functionality, and the ability to address the diverse financial needs of users in the Kenyan market.