Review: M-Pesa Positioning Itself as the Future of Money with the Super APP
Safaricom today launched a new M-Pesa app that they have dubbed the “M-pesa super app.” I tend to think, it quite deserves the tag because of the futuristic nature of the features.
But before we get to talk about those let me walk you through how to set this app on your phone because I realized there is a small detail that you need to know.
You can download the app from your Google Playstore (if you are an iPhone user you know where to get it). Just search for M-Pesa. On the app store, it’s not indicated as “M-Pesa Super App’ – Just “M-PESA.”
Ensure you install the app on the phone that has your Safaricom sim card you want to associate with the app. As you sign in, it will automatically detect your number. It’s also important that you turn off your wifi during this process and temporarily deactivate any other sim you may have on the phone (for those with twin sim phones).
As you sign in you will need to input your M-Pesa pin. The app has the option of capturing your biometrics, as it allows for the use of finger prints and facial recognition for authentication of transactions. In my case I denied it access to my biometrics because I feel like a PIN is a much safer method. Personal choice.
The striking thing about the app that you will notice is that it automatically shows you your M-Pesa balance and fuliza limit at the top of the landing page. When making transactions, you don’t need to be guessing if you have enough money, you will know.
Straight on the landing page too, you will have access to the basic features. Whether it’s sending money, paying a bill, withdrawing cash or buying airtime.
Which brings me to the second striking feature. Request Money. This has been modeled around the “Please Call Me” feature from Safaricom’s voice service. You can actually now request someone to send you money, indicating exactly how much you want them to send you, and with the option of attaching a note to the request. The app can also pick contacts straight from your phone book.
I find the request money feature very useful when stuck or even when someone owes you money and you want to remind them to pay up…or even when you have been sent somewhere to pay for something and whoever sent you did not know the exact price.
Still on the home page, you can see a prominent display of the amount of money you have transacted on M-Pesa for the month. The sliding feature gives you a daily average on the first page as well. On the second, third and fourth page it categorizes your expenditure.
I don’t know if this is standard but currently mine are categorized into family and friends (which is 52% of my transactions), Genera(47%) and Withdrals (1%).
This helps in tracking your spending habits, letting you know where your money goes. But that’s not all, When you click on “MY SPEND” at the bottom of the app you can access specific details about your expenses on each category mentioned above. From that page you can also download your customized statement for any duration in PDF by clicking on the arrow at the top right corner.
Let me take you back to the send and request feature on the landing page for my third striking feature in this app. When you click on that You will see “SEND MONEY”, “REQUEST MONEY”, “GLOBAL”, “ANOTHER NETWORK”, and “SCAN QR”….Global is what I am talking about.
Under global, M-Pesa has integrated transactions with banks, Western Union and Paypall. In this era of global trade, I find linking M-Pesa to Paypal quite futuristic.
If you have a Paypal you can now top it up straight from M-Pesa or even withdraw from Paypal direct to your M-Pesa. So you noloner have to link your Netflix or other payments to your bank, just get Paypal and sort it from M-Pesa. Futuristic I tell you.
In another first the app has integrated third party services. If you click on “DISCOVER”, you will land on a page that allows you to book a bus ticket from major long distance bus companies from BuuPas. You can also book your SGR tickets straight from the app.
You can order for gas and have it delivered to your home by Pro Gas and you can you can select events and pay through MTICKETS. Other services include payments to E-BIMA, MINET, and CPF. You can also buy gift vouchers.
Other notable features include the ability to use this app for transactions even without internet connection (for now this feature is only available on android devices). You will also be able to pay bills by simply scanning QR codes at pay points.
I am still getting to use this app and discovering more of it, but my overall assessment is that a lot of thought went into making this app that addresses the diverse need of today’s financial transactions. M-Pesa is indeed positioned to be the future of money.