The thought of integrating MPESA into our businesses tends to come with a lot of questions. Am I doing my business a favor? Are the costs incurred worth it? Worry not, it is not as intricate as it seems. Before we dive into the nitty gritty we should first understand the general concept that is MPESA. This is a name that will never be erased from the entire history of Fintech.
What started as a means to ease the process or repayment of microloans has quickly turned into the biggest mobile money transfer in the country and is a household name. It is recognized globally and has expanded to Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Ghana, Egypt, Afghanistan, Lesotho, and South Africa. It is fast, offers affordable, and generally saves the customer’s time as the trip to the bank that is riddled with long queues is eliminated.
With schools reopening after their closure of about 10 months, parents are all rushing to pay school fees for their children thus brings us to one of the ways MPESA is incorporated into day-to-day activities. The Lipa Karo service eases the process of paying school fees as it’s completed in simple and short procedure and can be done from wherever meaning the person paying the school fees can do it from the comfort of their own home.
Once an institution signs up for the Lipa Karo paybill number, they are issued with a business number that parents and guardians can use to make the payments. One can always obtain a Paybill or till number online.
This works like a normal paybill and the user journey is the same as making a regular payment. One simply goes to the Lipa na MPESA option on the app and selects Paybill. Next, the business number that is provided by the school is keyed in. If unsure of the business number, a USSD code (*234#) is used where the school name is the keyword. Once the payment is done, Safaricom sends the generic confirmation message and the process is completed.
From a Technical perspective:
This process makes use of Safaricom’s C2B API. The customer sends a payment request to the paybill from their mobile phone. MPESA receives the request and internally validates it first. By default, external validation is disabled and a special request has to be made to MPESA Business to enable it. If enabled MPESA sends a validation request to the validation URL registered for the school. The third-party (the school) validates the request and thereafter sends back a relevant message to MPESA. This has to be done within 8 seconds or the endpoint will be considered unreachable. MPESA then proceeds to act on the transaction according to the response given.
If the transaction is completed, MPESA now sends a confirmation request to the confirmation URL with the usual details of any transaction for example Transaction ID and time of payment. If canceled from the third party’s side, MPESA simply cancels the payment. What happens in external validation is disabled? MPESA automatically completes the transaction and sends a confirmation request to the Confirmation URL. This is the only API call that will be received as opposed to the two API calls received when external validation is enabled.
If there are no URLS registered, MPESA simply completes the request. Lastly, a generic MPESA message is sent to the customer and owner of the paybill with all the relevant details.
BY FAITH MWANYOLO
Kenya is highly dependent on the tourism industry (it contributes to 9% of Kenya’s GDP) and the tourism industry goes hand in hand with the hospitality industry. If the hospitality industry is being competitive and keeping up with trends this also impacts the tourism industry. This can be achieved through the use of M-Pesa. In the last 10 years, M-Pesa has experienced great leaps of growth from being a mobile money transfer service to being a fully functional mobile money platform; it offers services such as loans, savings, payment offers, and many others. This growth has led it to be incorporated into our everyday life and no sector should be left behind in embracing this technology especially the hospitality industry.
M-Pesa offers a variety of payment options using its APIs. The APIs that are currently on offer within the daraja platform are:
- B2C API: an API that enables Business to Customer transactions. Companies can transact with customers as end-users of their products or services.
- C2B API: this API allows customers to business transactions. Customers can use Paybill or buy goods and services using this API.
- Lipa na M-Pesa Online Payment API: utilizes STK push to initiate transactions on behalf of a customer.
These different APIs can be utilized by hotels to increase efficiency in their payment process.
Safaricom has applications that hotels (including small hotels) can take advantage of as they can use the application to track transactions and store records, with M-Pesa for Business App they can maximize their effectiveness and efficiency. M-Pesa for business is an application that allows merchants to transact and track M-Pesa collection and disbursements.
Hotels should take advantage of these applications because it will allow businesses to:
- Track business growth: Through this, they can be able to track income flows that support their growth. At the close of business each day they can view all accumulated values per day.
- View full statements: Business can see all transactions that were made or received in the account. They can use money-in and money-out to filter between credit and debit cards.
- Transact the pay feature allows one to send money that pays suppliers, refunds, or salaries and is directly sent to an individual M-Pesa The business can withdraw money collected from the till and move to the owner’s M-Pesa account, M-Pesa agent or bank account.
- Manage account: M-Pesa business allows multiple access with weighted rights access to manage and transact on multiple till numbers under the same nominated number.
- Roll up: allows you to push funds collected to the head office.
It goes without saying that when customers pay via till number you minimize the number of times you come into contact with cash and the possibilities of contracting the virus.
A business owner has an upcoming hotel with 10 employees. They can sign up for a till number online, through contracted merchants or through visiting any Safaricom customer care shop. Using a till number, they allow customers to pay using M-Pesa. Instead of the traditional way where the cashier asks for personal information such as name or phone number, Using Safaricom Daraja APIs they can now authenticate transactions from their hotel system OR POS. This will benefit the business to reduce the time and inefficiencies of manually verifying transactions.
For restaurants and hotels the C2B API is best for integration whereby customers can pay against their till and all the transactions can be reflected against one’s URL. However, for greater efficiency, they should use the M-Pesa for Business app which will enable them to not only allow payments but also keep better transaction records, pay employees and supplier directly from the till as well as move funds
If you are keen on discovering the possibilities of M-Pesa through integration, talk to us.
BY: SUSAN NAFULA
“Verzuz, also known as Verzuz TV, is a webcast series created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. It was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic as a virtual DJ battle, with Timbaland and Swizz Beatz facing off in its first iteration through an Instagram Live broadcast in March 2020”
This w eye-opening session, especially if you have investors in your businesses or if you’ve ever thought of being a board of a startup/small business
An informal session for those interested in joining boards to ask questions to the phenomenal women on boards.
There are only two types of companies: those that know they’ve been compromised, and those that don’t know. There are two types of people: those who know they have been hacked, and those who don’t.
As an #EQUALS fellow, allow me to recap what I have learnt from the sessions I attended this year on #IWD2020 and what it means to bridge the gap. Lets talk less, and action more.
A prelude to the Data protection session hosted by Botlab on 19th Feb 2020, as the 3rd session of our SME tech master class.