Safaricom, will no longer allow unregistered mobile money accounts to transact via mpesa. The company becomes the first telco to issue such a directive in the country.
Part of Safaricom’s statement on X said ” Effective February 5th, 2024, you will no longer be able to send money from M-PESA to unregistered mobile money customers “
Unregistered Users Voucher Deadline
This move will affect unregistered Mobile Money users on other platforms such a Airtel Money and T-Kash as well. Previously, unregistered mobile money users would receive a voucher message via SMS that had to be redeemed at an M-PESA Agent within 7 days of receipt of the voucher. This will no longer be the case.
In the event that you send Money to an unregistered user, the transaction will fail. Safaricom will return a message that the user is unregistered on any mobile money platform.
While from yesterday unregistered users will be locked out, there are those who are yet to redeem their vouchers. Safaricom advices such individuals to “Redeem it at any Mpesa Agent by 13th February 2024.”.
Safaricom clearly doesn’t want it’s customers to miss their Valentine’s Day obligations. After the 13th, the vouchers expire and they will not have access to the funds.
Industry regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has in the past enforced provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications (Registration of SIM cards) Regulations, 2015. The act requires all mobile operators to collect certain details of their subscribers during registration and update any changes made thereafter to those details.
This led to a SIM card registration exercise in 2021 that was later extended to the last quarter of 2022. SIM cards that were not properly registered were meant to be switched off by the telcos after the deadline lapsed.
CA’s action were triggered by use of unregistered Sim cards to carry out illegal activities. This could also be the motive behind Safaricom’s decision. M-pesa fraud in particular has been a persistent menace in Kenya. Fraudulent people often make calls to unsuspecting mobile money users and trick them into sending money.
In other instances, fake business accounts on social media push would be clients to send money in order to make a purchase. Unfortunately, after the funds are sent, the fake business accounts disappear having not delivered a product. As the M-pesa customers are not registered, tracing them is a tedious task that seldom bears fruit.
The Telco says they have taken the step to Improve user experience: “We’re eliminating the voucher system, which often led to confusion and inconvenience with expiring vouchers and redemption difficulties“. Additionally, Safaricom say this will enhance security.