Safaricom called out for charging merchants despite a waiver

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has asked M-Pesa service provider, Safaricom to ensure that merchants benefits from transaction fee waiver for amounts below Sh1000 announced last week.

This after an irate business person took to twitter to complain that the directive was only benefiting personal accounts, forcing operators to shoulder the cost. 

The merchant, using a twitter handle @TonuaTai called out both CBK and the mobile money provider, lamenting that Safaricom only changed B2B charges from free to the similar fees charged for B2C transactions. These businesses are therefore forced to shoulder the sudden changes in tariffs.

‘’So, I would like to raise an issue that I have noticed over the past two days. As an SME, we have been lied to by both the CBK governor @njorogep and this government. You lied to us,’’ the merchant tweeted.

In a swift rejoinder, CBK governor Patrick Njoroge promised that the apex bank was working with Safaricom to fix the anomaly. 

“The waiver charges for transactions below 1K was inadvertently left out for merchants during the implementation by Safaricom. This will be rectified. Sincere apologies,” Njoroge tweeted.

His admission has since led to an uproar on twitter, with merchants demanding that Safaricom should refund them.

Our effort to rich Safaricom for a comment hit a dead end as neither our calls or messages had been responded to by the time of going to press.

On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked banks and mobile money providers to consider reducing costs of transactions to allow customers use cashless modes of payment as part of the measures to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Safaricom has hinted that it may review its data price to support students and employees working from home after the government shut down schools and public offices.

The operator’s Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge revealed this yesterday, indicating that the firm had been approached by a section of learning and corporate institutions to lower their internet costs, to ensure both learning and working continues.

This is good news especially to millions of employees who have been forced to work from home to limit the spread of coronavirus that has infected at least 30 people in the country. 

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