Safaricom, Kenya’s top telecom company, has made a change in its M-PESA service. Now, people can’t send money to friends who haven’t registered on M-PESA. This also affects those using Airtel Money and T-Kash.

According to a statement on Safaricom’s X account, users of M-PESA won’t be able to send or receive money to and from different mobile money providers like Airtel and T-Kash. Before this, M-PESA allowed sending money to unregistered Safaricom customers.

While the reason for this change wasn’t explained by M-PESA, some think it’s related to security. Unregistered SIM cards could be a way for money to move around without being traced.

In the past three years, the government has been trying to reduce M-PESA’s control in Kenya. In September 2023, there were 38.1 million mobile money subscriptions, with M-PESA leading at 96.5%, followed by Airtel Money at 3.4%, and T-Kash at 0.1%.

The Central Bank of Kenya suggested making mobile money work together, so people can use different services easily. But Airtel Money and T-Kash haven’t caught up, possibly because they have fewer places for people to get or put cash.

Recently, M-PESA has faced some problems with its service, leaving customers unhappy. However, Safaricom hasn’t been clear about why this is happening, which is different from their usual customer-friendly approach.

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