M-Pesa plans to introduce tap-to-pay capabilities

M-Pesa, the mobile money platform used by more than 32.1 million Kenyans and over 60 million customers across eight African markets, is taking a new direction in the payments field.

In a partnership with payments giant Visa, M-Pesa plans to debut tap-to-pay capabilities. This follows owner Safaricom's partnership with Visa last year to introduce the M-Pesa GlobalPay Visa Virtual Card, which allows over 30 million M-Pesa customers to shop abroad while also paying securely. This new venture expands beyond the virtual GlobalPay offering and sets its sights on the cash-reliant retail sector.

It also follows M-Pesa’s receipt of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Certification, a worldwide data security standard for companies that accept card transactions. 

The tap-to-go solution for customers will enable merchants to receive payments. Visitors with cards can pay through M-Pesa and also extend card solutions to other fintechs. It’s also good for Visa, which gains a powerful partner with a vast user base.

Customers can use the tap-to-pay product across the eight countries in which M-Pesa operates. M-Pesa says, in a statement on X: “Fintechs and financial institutions are equally set to leverage our card processing capabilities, empowering them to provide end-to-end mobile and card payment solutions.”

According to M-Pesa owner Safaricom, the PCI DSS clearance is a significant accomplishment for the company and corresponds with its ambition to transition from a telco to a tech company by 2025. It can now be a worldwide payment facilitator for partners such as Google, Uber, and Microsoft, among others.

Aside from tap-to-pay, the accreditation will allow M-Pesa retailers to accept card payments from Safaricom customers both online and in-person.

Local reports suggest that the company may now improve API functionality in order to increase the number of developers on the M-Pesa platform.

It’s yet another evolution in Africa of what was once a very simple system – but how fast is that system actually changing? See our recent feature on the future of mobile money for a closer look at this complex topic. 

Sign-up to our weekly newsletter

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.
Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.