M-PESA faces another outage in January for undisclosed reasons

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January 23, 2024
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2 min read
M-PESA
  • Safaricom’s mobile money platform, M-PESA, is experiencing downtime, which has impacted its paybill services.
  • After announcing in an earlier notification that it had fixed the outage, Safaricom issued a second notification indicating that the intermittent connectivity was back.
  • As of publication time, Safaricom has yet to explain the reason for the outage, despite reassuring users that its technical team is working to resolve the issue.

Users also received a notice on social media that M-PESA is undergoing scheduled maintenance.

This is not M-PESA's first outage. It went down for over two hours in early January 2024 and had a service outage in July 2023.

These recurring outages affect platform functionalities such as sending and receiving money, linked bank services, and other payment services. Thus, following the downtime, local banks issued a notification that they were unable to transact through M-PESA channels.

Interacting with the platform also presents error messages to users, who are advised to wait ten minutes before attempting a transaction again.

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Thousands of Kenyans have been discouraged from using mobile devices to make transactions because of the outage, highlighting the potential drawbacks of digital payment methods. However, other competing products can not match M-PESA's market dominance, which would have given Kenyans more options.

Similar products in Kenya include Airtel Money and Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash. M-PESA has been the market leader, accounting for 96.5% of the market in 2023, followed by competitors Airtel Money and T-Kash. By March 2023, M-PESA had processed 26 billion transactions.

Safaricom fully acquired M-PESA in October 2023. M-PESA Paybill services is one of Kenya's most popular payment options, with a presence in several East African countries. It enables money transfers from one platform to another and serves over 50 million customers, including over 30 million in Kenya.

Following its partnership with Amazon in February 2023, the mobile money payment application plans to expand globally.

Besides, M-PESA began offering tap-to-pay card payments to its customers in December 2023, thanks to a partnership with Visa. 

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