In service now for a decade in Africa, India and parts of Europe, M-Pesa is expanding its telco-driven mobile money service to include tap-and-go payments through wristbands, stickers or cards.

The M-Pesa 1Tap service, which Safaricom introduced in May, is now available in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nyeri after four months of testing.

Safaricom says the service is designed to eliminate numerous steps required on mobile phones, and for merchants to receive cashless payments while also improving accuracy and privacy.

M-Pesa billboard
Bloomberg News

“As a trusted, easy and convenient cashless payment solution for more than 70,000 businesses in Kenya, Lipa Na M-Pesa is ready to advance to become a more seamless solution," Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, said in an Oct. 4 press release.

"M-Pesa 1Tap builds on a strong foundation built on 10 years of learning and feedback from both our customers and merchants," Collymore added. "We hope it will transform the world of cashless payments.”

M-Pesa 1Tap will be progressively rolled out to leading supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants.

Customers have the option of obtaining an M-Pesa 1Tap wristband, phone sticker or card, with other options to be rolled out in the future, Safaricom said.

To complete a payment, a merchant keys in the payment amount into their device, taps the customer tag, and the customer enters their PIN on their phone to validate the payment. Safaricom says this cuts down the steps involved from more than eight using the M-Pesa tool on SIM cards, to just one step for the customer.

Since its launch in Nakuru County in Africa, more than 90,000 customers and 2,000 merchants have adopted the M-Pesa 1Tap service.

Safaricom, of which Vodafone owns 40%, said mobile cashless payments are increasingly popular in Kenya, citing Central Bank of Kenya statistics showing they accounted for 72.8% of cashless payments by value and 88% by number of cashless transactions in July 2017.

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