Further underlining the growing importance of cashless and paperless payment in Africa, Kenyan operator Safaricom has announced the launch of an M-Pesa Bill Management service.
This innovation targets schools, landlords, utilities and other businesses that get repeat payments, offering a platform where they can present and receive pending payments from customers, and issue electronic receipts. Importantly for M-Pesa customers, the service offers a single point where they can view all their bills, receive reminders and automate payment of bills.
For schools, the Bill Manager platform will enable management to customise different types of fee – tuition, lunch, transport and school trips among others – and also to send fee reminders to parents and guardians.
Landlords and property agents can send rent payment reminders and reconcile any received payments. For utility providers, the service will enable automatically billing of customers who will have a way to easily view and manage pending bills.
This service goes beyond just collecting payments at no additional cost. It will also aid record-keeping by providing digital receipts for each payment.
All payments received through M-Pesa are instantly reconciled on the platform, which also provides an option to manually add payments. Customers using the service will instantly receive an SMS reminder when a new bill is generated or when the bill is due.
The platform will be offered free to all businesses with a Lipa Na M-Pesa Pay Bill – but all M-Pesa customers can sign up to manage their bills through the Bill Manager option.
The service saves a business’ customers from having to queue to physically make payments and having to present paper working detailing the payment, a relief in most circumstances but even more important during a health crisis when queuing – and sharing items like paper – could be inadvisable.