Safaricom offers a ton of apps for some of its products and services. However, two of these apps are very popular among its subscribers: the regular mySafaricom app and the M-PESA app which has been in testing since 2020.
The M-PESA app is very popular at the time of this writing and for many good reasons. It is modern in appearance (the user interface is unmatched) and has most of the features of M-PESA to be used exclusively without ever having to call the STK menu or the mySafaricom app.
It should be noted, however, that the app has not yet exited the beta. We thought that right now it should be totally stable for the masses, but we know it should happen soon. In addition, the operator sent SMS to customers about the existence of the M-PESA application and with a link to the application stores. This may be one of the reasons the app has been downloaded over 500,000 times, which is quite a number compared to other locally created apps that rarely rack up many downloads.
That being said, we should report that we’ve been using the app for almost six months now, and there are a lot of features that have really impressed us. So, do we talk about it?
This is perhaps one of the main reasons why we are in love with the M-PESA app. During setup (which must be done over a mobile data connection, unlike the mySafaricom app which can be configured using Wi-Fi), the app prompts you to configure biometric authentication. This means that you can either unlock apps using your face fingerprint, whichever works best for you.
The good thing about this is that no one will see your M-PESA PIN when executing a transaction, which is a good thing, especially in M-PESA agent stores or crowded supermarkets. . It beats the mySafaricom app, which can be secured with biometrics but will ask for a PIN code to complete a transaction.
The only downside to biometric authentication is where someone else picks up your phone and launches the app while you are asleep (with your finger or face). This is likely to happen for some, but can be completely overcome by sticking to a PIN code.
This update just arrived the other day. Previously, the app displayed your balances at the top of the interface. It was a problem for many, including yours. Now you can hide this balance by clicking on the “eye” button. The feature also hides your transaction history, which makes it a very good security feature.
Ask for money
As the name suggests, users of the M-PESA app can ask their friends, family or colleagues. It’s quite simple to do: just enter the phone number you want to request money from, enter the amount, add descriptive text (optional) and authenticate the transaction. The recipient will receive the request and act accordingly.
The question is, is this a feature that a lot of people will be using? – because usually people make phone calls or text the person they want to ask for money. Still, we’re glad this feature is here, and if that doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, you can still …
At the moment, the app only allows you to send money to a maximum of five people. Suppose you want to pay your employees through M-PESA, you can do so by sending them money in batches without withdrawing them separately. We have to admit that this is a handy feature for business people and is already gaining popularity thanks to the people we have interacted with.
Note: You will continue to pay transaction fees for each person you send money to while using the feature.
The M-PESA app now has all popular invoices in its system, which means there is no need to memorize them. The bills go from Kenya Power to DStv. Better yet, you can even browse them to find a specific payment invoice number.
At the same time, the cash register section records your frequent numbers or preferred invoices, which is convenient because it saves time.
Both options (Pay Bill and Checkout) have an option to QR scanner codes in case you’re willing to go that route.
When the app first launched, many people were enthusiastic about the “My Expenses” feature. It basically adds up all your M-PESA transactions and reveals how much money your M-PESA account has processed. Expenses are limited to one month.
However, the feature didn’t go into more info like M-Ledger at the time. It rounds up your expenses into “General”, “Friends and family”, “Withdrawal” and “Bills and services”.
We think the app could have done more here in terms of breaking down spending into additional detail, as we’ve discussed in the M-Ledger post before.
The new M-PESA app can be used without a mobile connection to perform basic transactions. The toggle to enable this feature is in the settings sections as shown in the image. You can send money using the feature, pay bills, and more. This is a good development as there are many cases where a user may not have data, and the feature would be useful then. This is also the operator’s first offline implementation, as its other apps like mySafaricom don’t have it.
There are a lot of other little things that the M-PESA app does very well.
- For example, you can see all the transactions made over a certain period (we can go back up to three months only). The app pulls transactions from the cloud, which means you can complete them on another device or through STK and still see them once the app is installed.
- The app can also work fine even when you remove your SIM card. This means that the app can still be used even if your SIM card is on another device.
- On the lifestyle side, you can access services such as bus reservation (via BuuPass) or Madaraka Express, and request a bottle of gas (ProGas).
- You can also record via M-Shwari, although KCB M-PESA has not yet been integrated (the mySafaricom app does).
And did we say the app looks good and responds well?
One thing you should note is that the M-PESA app is not here to replace the mySafaricom app. The two are two different products that serve specific purposes; M-PESA is intended for the mobile money product only, while mySafaricom has integrated almost all Safaricom services, including home fiber management.
We can’t wait to see the app get more features as the carrier tries to make the tool more appealing to customers before it’s officially rolled out to everyone.