Kenya’s telecoms operator Safaricom has waived transaction costs on mobile money transfers under Ksh 1,000 shillings for the next 90 days.
The government said cashless payments can curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“While the immediate objective is to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by handling banknotes, this will also reduce the use of cash in the economy over the medium term,” said the Central Bank of Kenya.
On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta encouraged Kenyans to cut down on the handling of cash by going cashless.
With Central Bank of Kenya’s approval, Safaricom said it has increased consumer’s daily transaction limit to Ksh 300,000 per person from the current Ksh 140,000, ‘in particular small and micro business enterprises (SMEs)’ Safaricom said in a statement. User will be able to hold more money in their wallets under the new changes, the company added.
M-Pesa charges KSh15 for transfer of up to KSh1,000 to registered M-Pesa users and KSh49 for unregistered users, and KSh28 for withdrawals.
The following emergency measures will apply from midnight March 16, 2020 and will remain in place until June 30, 2020.
- There will be no charge for mobile money transactions up to Ksh.1,000.
- The transaction limit for mobile money is increased to Ksh.150,000.
- The daily limit for mobile money transactions is increased to Ksh.300,000.
- The mobile money wallet limit is increased to Ksh.300,000.
- The monthly total limit for mobile money transactions is eliminated.
- The current tariff for mobile money transactions for Ksh.70,000 will apply for transactions up to Ksh.150,000.
- PSPs and commercial banks will eliminate charges for transfers between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
“Safaricom is also working with the Government by providing a Call Center and integrating a toll-free line 719 which has been set up by the National Emergency
Response Committee on Coronavirus to support Kenyans in understanding how to prevent and manage suspected cases,” said Michael Joseph, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom PLC.
Safaricom pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful service of its kind anywhere in the world. Launched in March 2007, M-PESA now has over 23.6 million active customers and over 176,000 M-PESA Agent outlets countrywide.
On Sunday, Kenya reported three cases of Covid-19 since Friday with 27 people placed under isolation as the government steps up efforts to curb the spread of the virus. As a result, it has banned the entry of travellers from coronavirus-hit countries, and closed schools indefinitely and encouraged work from home.
“We have suspended learning in all our educational institutions with immediate effect. Consequently, and to facilitate a phased approach, primary and secondary day schools are to suspend operations from tomorrow (Monday),” the President said in a statement outside his Harambee House office, Nairobi Sunday.
“Only Kenyan citizens, and any foreigners with valid residence permits will be allowed into Kenya provided they proceed to self-quarantine or to a government facility,” directed the President