Home African news PayPal-Mpesa Transfers now Enabled: What does this mean for Crypto?

PayPal-Mpesa Transfers now Enabled: What does this mean for Crypto?

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Mpesa-PayPal transfers (photo courtesy: Safaricom)

PayPal-Mpesa transfers’ is a game changer

Safaricom and Paypal with the aid TransferTo have announced a partnership that will enable the transfer of funds between Paypal and Mpesa accounts. The new service that takes effect on 9th April 2018 comes as a huge relief to online service providers whilst opening up new opportunities for Kenyans to participate in global eCommerce. Through this service, Mpesa customers will be able to link up their mobile wallets with their corresponding PayPal accounts which will in turn enable them to move funds either way. This will provide a seamless gateway for payments for goods and services all over the world through a simplistic process. As for Kenyan merchants and online service providers they can easily sell products globally and receive payment in a fast, secure and reliable manner.

This new collaboration by Safaricom and Paypal comes at a time when the Kenyan Ecommerce space is experiencing immense growth with increasing participation by both consumers and merchants in the global marketplace. It gives Kenyan businesses access to over 250 million PayPal users further widening the scope of Kenyans doing business globally. Speaking about this new collaboration, Safaricom Director of Strategy, Joseph Ogutu stated that

“M-PESA’s collaboration with PayPal will open up global market places and the global economy to millions of Kenyans and Kenyan-based businesses. Beyond money transfers, this development ushers in a new era of speed and convenience beyond borders, as we work towards innovating robust platforms through which more entrepreneurs and consumers can benefit from the growing eCommerce industry”

A huge win for freelancers

Besides eCommerce, Kenya has a very active online freelance industry with writers, content creators, artists, web designers, and developers, among others using international payment gateways such as PayPal to receive payment for their services. However, converting these payments, usually in foreign currencies has been a point of pain for freelancers as they have had to rely on Equity bank’s PayPal withdraw service that takes 3-5 days to reflect in one’s account. Those without such level of patience or pressing needs have been forced to convert the hard earned cash through the more instantaneous third party withdrawal service providers that charge exorbitant fees. As such, this announcement comes as a huge relief to the Kenyan freelance and online service provider community as it’s secure, reliable and most importantly fast. Accordingly, the transfer takes between 2 hours to 3 days depending on the amount withdrawn which beats Equity Bank’s withdrawal service hands down.

Loading up Paypal through Mpesa

The new collaboration also allows Mpesa users to load up their Paypal accounts through the Paybill service. Through the TranferTo gateway one will be able to fund their PayPal account using the Paybill number 80088 and keying in their linked Mpesa number as the account number. This seamless integration and ability to send funds to either wallet provides an additional choice for users to conduct eCommerce activities as well as receive and make payments.

To learn more about the service check out this video:

Which way crypto?

Safaricom, having just in the past one week announced interoperability with other local mobile service providers such as Airtel’s AirtelMoney and Telkom’s Tkash and now with PayPal it is easy to be optimistic that the company is reviewing other instant payment solutions. Recently, Safaricom has laid great emphasis on Payment solutions and eCommerce as its voice and text revenues continue to face substantial decline due to cutthroat competition. However, the company remains steadfast in innovating around eCommerce and payment solutions and has in the past contributed either directly or indirectly in the demise of startups with the space such as Kipochi and Bitpesa.

With this in mind it will come as no surprise if the company makes a push into the cryptocurrency market especially with the Kenyan government recently having acknowledged the importance of Blockchain in its development agenda through the formation of a dedicated taskforce. With established cryptocurrency payment gateway’s already providing solutions there is the likelihood that Safaricom could further explore collaborations with the likes of Bitpay, GoCoin, CoinGate and BitcoinPay. It may seem like a long short but with the current pace of innovation and competition within the space I wouldn’t bet against it. Wouldn’t it be nice to pay via Bitcoin using Mpesa or cashing out Litecoin to your Mpesa instantaneously?

While this may take more time, consultations, and substantial bits of regulation for Safaricom to roll out, there is a room for innovative Kenyan businesses and entrepreneurs to venture by leveraging these new developments.  This collaboration presents an opportunity for third party service providers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies via Paypal and Mpesa to local enthusiasts and traders. Kenyans are an innovative bunch (we don’t get called Silicon Savannah for nothing) and it would come as no surprise if new solutions mushroom bringing together mobile money, cryptocurrency, ecommerce and more all rolled into one simple, fast and secure transaction platform. All we can do now is to keep our fingers crossed as we await new developments to come out of this amazing opportunity.

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