Mobile money transactions are growing in Kenya, but a recent increase in tariffs had a negative impact on the number of M-Pesa transactions.
According to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), mobile money transfers encountered a marginal drop of $0.02bn in February, shortly after Safaricom, the platform that runs M-Pesa, increased their tariffs by 10%.
Until February, growth in mobile transactions has been continuous since last year, where the Kenyan population averaged Ksh118bn ($1.4bn) per month in transfers. According to new data from Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Kenyans have conducted transactions worth Ksh139bn ($1.64 bn) over the last month.
In 2012 the transacted business on mobile money transfer platforms rose to Ksh1.5 billion ($18 billion), the highest in the history of Kenya.
However, as Safaricom increased its charges after the Kenyan government introduced a 10% excise duty in a bid to raise more revenue, fears mounted that the money transacted would decrease.
To send and receive between Ksh 482($5.7) and Ksh 964 ($11.4) on M-Pesa, Kenyans now pay Ksh58 ($0.69), up from Ksh53 ($0.63). Sending charges are Ksh31 ($0.37), up from Ksh29 ($0.34) while to receive the money, one pays Ksh26 ($0.31) up from Ksh22 ($0.26).
Most users have complained about the high tariffs, which Safaricom is the only telco to implement. Other telecoms offering mobile money services in the country are Airtel, Yu and Orange.
During the period under review, the CBK data further indicates that the number of mobile money users in Kenya hit 21.8m, a rise from January’s 21.4m and an all-time high since mobile money platforms were implemented in Kenya.