By Mark Kawalya
Safaricom’s M-Pesa is set to introduce standing orders, a feature that will make it the first mobile money platform in the world to offer such functionality. This was revealed by the telco’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), George Njuguna. While standing orders are commonplace in traditional and neo-banking services, their integration into a mobile money platform is something that marks a pioneering leap.
Njuguna emphasized the innovative aspect of this initiative through a post on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “This is the first initiative where you will have standing orders on a mobile platform—the first in the world, and not just the first in Africa. We will use it in other areas, such as health, because we understand that this economy will increase accessibility and affordability.”
Standing orders within M-PESA will provide users with a seamless means of automating recurring payments and transfers. With this feature, individuals can establish regular payments from their mobile money accounts to other individuals, businesses, or services. This will serve as a convenient method for promptly settling bills, rent, and other repetitive expenses without the need for manual involvement.
Potential Implementation Scenarios
M-PESA has expanded its portfolio to encompass different products and services in categories like payments, savings, and credit access. Within the realm of bill payments, M-PESA offers products like Lipa na M-PESA and Buy Goods. These platforms are prime candidates for enabling users to set up standing orders for automatically handling utility bills, rent, and various other expenses on specified dates.
M-PESA also hosts a range of credit facilities, including M-Shwari, KCB M-PESA, and Fuliza (an overdraft facility). Here, standing orders will play a pivotal role in ensuring punctual loan repayments.
Traditionally, standing orders have played a significant role in savings and investments. Safaricom has similar products, such as KCB M-PESA and M-Shwari for savings, along with Mali, its investment product. It will be intriguing to see how standing orders are seamlessly integrated with these services, facilitating the routine transfer of a portion of a customer’s balance into savings or investments.
Safaricom introduced a virtual card in partnership with VISA last year, specifically for online payments. Kenyan customers can now use M-PESA to make payments for services like Netflix using this channel. Standing orders have the potential to streamline such payments, eliminating the need for repeated manual intervention.