M-PESA, Safaricom’s flagship has launched its online payment service. Lipa na M-PESA online is a new service that will allow local traders to accept online payments for the purchase and sale of goods and services.

Kenya has in recent times witnessed remarkable growth in online payments driven largely by the easy availability of high speed internet and an emerging middle class. The online payment space in Kenya has great potential, but industry experts say that lack of accessible and secure payment systems are hindering local uptake.

Lipa Na M-PESA online is part of M-PESA’s overall agenda to lead the evolution of the payments landscape in Kenya. The entry of M-PESA into the online space is a landmark move that will see more than 18 million M-PESA customers gain access to the online shopping experience either as entrepreneurs or as customers,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

Launched in June this year, Lipa na m-pesa was developed by TangazoLetu  a Kenyan ICT company guided by Safaricom. This was after a gap analysis on Buy Goods identified a number of challenges, such as the settlement process, which was cumbersome for small merchants. TanagazoLetu enhanced the existing Buy Goods solution to make it easier to make settlements to the merchant and make it more attractive to the small merchants. A pilot project was done among Safaricom staff helped identify loopholes and seal them before the product was launched to the public.

This online service will leverage the deep penetration of the mobile phone and the proliferation of Internet services to ease the shopping experience for customers while allowing merchants to match their goods and services directly to consumers. An estimated 29.7 million Kenyans have mobile phones, while about 14.3 million have access to the internet.

This service comes in at a time when e-commerce continues to expand rapidly with the emergence of online shopping sites such as OLX, Rupu, Bid or Buy, Jumia, and Cheki.

How Lipa na M-PESA online works

Lipa Na M-PESA online provides customers a chance to purchase items online.Customers select the items they want to pay for and pay with Lipa Na M-PESA online at the checkout point. The total cost for the items purchased online is deducted from the customer’s M-PESA account. The customer only needs to key in their mobile number and they will receive a notification on their mobile phone to validate the transaction using their Bonga PIN.