Safaricom launches M-Pesa 1Tap in fight for mobile commerce market

Mobile commerce is the biggest segment in mobile money transfer business in Kenya

A demonstration of how M-Pesa 1 tap works
A demonstration of how M-Pesa 1 tap works at a Nakuru supermarket

Competition in the mobile commerce market got stiffer today after East Africa most profitable company, Safaricom launched Lipa na Mpesa upgrade.

Dubbed M-Pesa 1Tap, the upgrade which employ’s near field communication technology cuts the steps that a subscriber takes to make payments on Lipa na M-Pesa from eight to one.

According to Communication Authority statistics, mobile commerce is the biggest business in mobile money transfer in Kenya.

Value of commerce transactions accounted for 53.6 per cent of the total industry mobile money transfer business in the quarter of 2016/17 or Sh627 billion out of Sh1.17 trillion  for the whole mobile transfer sector.

Safaricom had more than 90 percent of the emerging mobile commerce market until Equity Group Holding launched Equitel last year.

CA show that Safaricom had a 91.6 per cent dominance of mobile commerce business, moving Sh286.4 billion through Lipa Na M-Pesa a year ago, Equitel had 4.4 per cent share while Airtel had 3.94 per cent.

That has since changed Equitel market share in mobile commerce jumped to 30.1 per cent in March in the third quarter, moving Sh189 billion through EazzyPay. Safaricom’s market share dropped to 68.9 per cent, moving Sh432 billion.

It will be interesting to see how M-Pesa users will take up the upgrade given that it requires them to buy new wrist gadgets and electronic cards.

The upgrade will be available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nyeri. Subscribers in these cities can use the upgrade to pay for goods at Petrol stations, Supermarkets and restaurants.

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