A day after Safaricom celebrated its 20th anniversary in style, the telco has introduced a new feature known as ‘Pochi la Biashara’ for users of its M-Pesa mobile money service.
In line with plans to innovate around Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the new feature is targeted at small business owners.
‘Pochi la Biashara’ allows business owners to receive money directly on their M-Pesa lines without signing up for ‘Lipa na M-Pesa’. Customer payments instead flow into a separate wallet within M-Pesa.
Notably, funds sent to the business wallet will not be deducted by Fuliza, Safaricom’s wildly popular overdraft service.
“Business owners will be able to separate their business funds and personal funds allowing them to use business transactions to make better business decisions,” the telco noted in a statement.
To make a payment, customers will dial *334#, select Lipa na M-Pesa, then select Pochi la Biashara before completing the transaction.
Business owners will be able to opt in or out of the service at will. In addition, they will have access to statements detailing the state of their business accounts.
The launch of the service is considered timely given the new-found prominence of cashless payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new service also adds to Safaricom’s recent push to aggregate M-Pesa services on the USSD service *334#.
From small grocery vendors (mama mbogas) to matatus and kiosks, mobile money has become even more integral to the lives of Kenyans during the pandemic.
While revealing Safaricom’s plans for the future as the company celebrated its 20th anniversary on Tuesday, October 28, Ndegwa described SMEs as the lifeline of the economy.
He disclosed that various data products targeting SMEs were in the pipeline, as well as a digital academy to equip small business owners with important skills.
“We plan to go beyond to new frontiers, be more present, more world-class, and enable new platforms to launch our SMEs into greater possibilities,” Ndegwa stated.