Safaricom has announced plans to launch an M-Pesa service for minors (10-18 years) as the telecommunications company seeks to lock in its subscriber base at a young age and ensure future earnings from the payments platform.

Speaking during the company's investor briefing last week, Safaricom's CEO Peter Ndegwa that the telco had already started working on the ideas but could not give more details as the service is still under development.

“In terms of the junior account, we do not want to announce at this stage but what we signalled is that we are working with the regulator to see how we could come up with a product that is usable to individuals who are below 18 who currently do not have a product that meets their needs,”  Ndegwa said.

With over 30 million active customers, Mpesa is Safaricom's largest revenue generator, bringing in Ksh107 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2022.

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The growth is thanks to the end of free money transfers for amounts under KES 1000, which the CBK instituted at the height of the pandemic.

“We’ve seen significant improvement in M-Pesa usage both on the individual side in the average number of transactions per customer which have almost doubled and also on the merchant side,” said Ndegwa.

Currently, minors are not eligible to use the app and the new development would be a first in the country’s fintech sector. Ndegwa further assured Kenyans that the company will ensure that the product is safe for use and will include a provision for parental oversight per directives issued by the Communication Authority of Kenya.

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“The app will have restrictions on what those individuals can do because they are minors and also it will have parental controls, which is one of the most important features that were not available,” Ndegwa said.

Safaricom says that the product should be launched sometime before June elapses.

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Featured photo : Peter Ndegwa, CEO Safaricom. Photo|Safaricom PLC (Twitter)