Customers will be able to set up standing orders on M-PESA for bills and send money to friends and family. The service is available through a mini app.

Safaricom has launched standing orders on its mobile money platform, M-PESA. This service was hinted at a month ago and has just been announced during Safaricom’s engineering summit in Nairobi, Decode 2.0. Customers can opt into the service using a mini app. Mini apps are services built on top of super apps like the M-PESA app, eliminating the need for customers to download an additional app for the same functionality.

In the context of M-PESA, standing orders are automated, recurring transactions that Safaricom M-PESA customers can set up to perform specific financial activities at regular intervals. These orders are convenient for handling repetitive financial tasks without the need for manual input each time.

How it works

Standing orders are now official through Safaricom’s M-subscriptions mini app (it is yet to go live), which was proposed by the telco’s engineering team. This service has been integrated into the M-PESA app, offering customers a way to manage their recurring transactions.

To get started, customers must review and accept the terms and conditions, and they can then opt in using their M-PESA PIN. They can then choose which standing orders to set up, whether it’s for sending money to family and friends, paying regular bills, or purchasing goods and services. For instance, to create a standing order for money transfers, customers set up the recipient’s name, specify the amount, and define the frequency of the transfers. This can also be automated, and the platform will deduct the funds at the scheduled time. To note, automatic deductions only occur when customers explicitly configure this feature.

Safaricom said that standing orders will be available to other payment partners through their Daraja API platform. “The M-PESA Daraja API Gateway Developers Portal has been revamped with hybrid cloud architecture with superior API Billing and Monetization capabilities, self-service ticketing for API issues, and revamped API documentation,” Safaricom said in a statement.

Safaricom launched the M-PESA super app in 2020 with a mini apps feature similar to China’s WeChat. While the initial goal was to integrate 100 apps by the end of 2023, only 69 have been onboarded. The M-PESA app has 7.73 million downloads, but limited smartphone penetration is still a challenge in Kenya, as only 13.2 million out of 43 million customers have 4G-enabled smartphones.

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