Over 74,000 new M-PESA agent shops open in year of pandemic

A total of 74,610 new M-PESA agent shops opened in the twelve months to March, the latest financial disclosures by telco giant, Safaricom, shows.

In a trading year marked by adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic where the use of cash was discouraged to help check the spread of the disease, M-PESA agent shops increased by 43.1 per cent to cent to 247,869 outlets from 173,259 entities in the prior year.

On Thursday, May 13, Safaricom reported a 6.8 per cent decline in net profit to KES68.7 billion in the trading period ended March from KES73.7 billion realized in the previous financial year.

M-PESA agents include Safaricom authorized dealers spread across the country, operating one or more outlets.

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Equally, retailers with a significant distribution network such as petrol stations, distributors of fast moving consumer goods, supermarket chains, registered SMEs in estates and neighborhoods as well as and selected Banks and Micro-Finance Institutions run M-PESA agent services in Kenya.

M-PESA agents register customers into the mobile money transfer service, help deposit cash into registered customers’ M-PESA wallets, process cash withdrawals for registered and non-registered customers.

In the financial year ended March, Safaricom’s one month active Lipa na M-PESA active tills surged 75 per cent to 301,600 from 172,560, signaling customers’ increased uptake of cashless mode of making payment for goods and services across the country.

In the period under review, Safaricom recorded 13.6 per cent jump in one-month active M-PESA customers to 28.31 million from 24.91 million realized in the year ended March 2020.

The reduced profitability was mainly on account of lower service revenue which was negatively affected by reduced transaction cost on M-PESA services.

The company’s M-PESA commissions surged 18.4 per cent to KES28 million from KES24 million previously.

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