Kenyan cell phone operators have agreed to enable mobile payments across their networks in line with the central bank’s initiative to unify payment systems in the country, reported Bloomberg News.

The first phase of the project will see Telkom Kenya and Airtel Networks Kenya allowing their customers to pay for products and services through Safaricom’s M-Pesa.

In the second phase, the customers will be able to make payments from M-Pesa to till numbers on the Airtel Money and Telkom’s T-Kash platforms.

The move is part of the Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) efforts to enable seamless payments across networks to help customers send and receive money from any bank and fintech

The bank noted that the merchant interoperability of mobile money services will further expand the digitalisation of payments to businesses that are using the already extensive mobile money rails, and help customers to make payments with convenience.

CBK said in a statement: “The lack of full interoperability has increased the complexity, time and costs associated with making payments. As outlined in the National Payments Strategy 2022-2025 the overall aim is to provide customers with a seamless, secure and affordable means to send and receive money in any network.

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“CBK will continue to guide and facilitate the efforts to achieve full-scale interoperability across the payments ecosystem.”

In April last year, Absa Bank Kenya launched a contactless payment solution for purchasing goods and services at fuel stations, retail stores and other outlets.

In February last year, Digital fintech platform provider Ukheshe signed a new agreement with Nairobi-based lender KCB Bank Kenya to drive East African payment service.