Kenya: M-Pesa Outage Hits Kenyans Hard

Kenyans have complained of disruptions due to an M-Pesa outage that has hindered payment transactions on Safaricom's mobile money transfer platform.

The service was down for at least an hour by 4pm Wednesday, leading many users to air their frustrations on social media.

Attempts to use the service by press time were still unsuccessful, triggering an automatic response from Safaricom that indicated the company was working to restore the service.

"M-Pesa is currently unavailable. We are working to restore services and deeply regret any inconvenience caused," the automatic message stated.

Most of the concerns raised indicated that unavailability of the service had affected transactions that involved using their phones to pay.

Man... I am at the Supermarket,shopping only to reach the pay counter and find out Mpesa ain't working... #Safaricom #MPESA

- Yaro B (@Yaro_b_) June 23, 2021

This Mpesa outage has taught me to always have some loose cash. Things like Parking Fees don't accept cards.

- ©hristoph (@chrisgithinji) June 23, 2021

Aside from the message prompt to users attempting to use the service, Safaricom, which powers M-Pesa, is yet to issue an official communication on the disruption.

M-Pesa app

The downtime comes at a time when Safaricom has introduced a mini-app feature on its new M-Pesa app, which comes incorporated with mini applications of services such as deliveries, ticket booking, shopping, licences applications, insurance, government services, and utilities which customers frequently need.

This is among other features of convenience on the new app, which the giant telco is banking on to expand its customer base.

Services currently available as mini-apps include Madaraka Express train ticketing, long-distance bus booking with BuuPass, event tickets on Mtickets, shopping gift vouchers on GiftPesa Vouchers, insurance services on eBima, and gas delivery from Pro-Gas.

To lure more people into using the mini-apps, the telco will award customers who book train tickets on Madaraka Express with 10 per cent of the value of their tickets back into their M-Pesa accounts.

The platform allows customers to transact offline and does not require data bundles to complete transactions.

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