Google starts taking payments for apps via Kenya’s M-Pesa service


Daniel Mumbere with REUTERS
Google Play apps and games store has started accepting payments in Kenya through Safaricom’s mobile phone M-Pesa service to boost downloads in a market where many people do not have a credit card.

M-Pesa, which enables customers to transfer money and pay bills via mobile phone, has 27.8 million users in the nation of 45 million people where Google’s Android platform dominates. M-Pesa has been mimicked across Africa and in other markets.

“This is very important to the developer ecosystem in markets where credit card penetration is low,” said Mahir Sain, head of Africa Android partnerships at Google, which is owned by Alphabet Inc.

This is very important to the developer ecosystem in markets where credit card penetration is low.

Joseph Ogutu, the Director of Strategy at Safaricom said, ”The partnership is set to empower customers to access Google Play Content”.

Safaricom has 13 million smart phones on its network, most of them using the Android platform, who will now have an additional payment option other than the previous system that only took payments by credit card.

It partnered with London-based global payments platform provider, DOCOMO Digital, to enable users pay through M-Pesa, both firms said on Thursday.

Lack of payment options remains one of the barriers for Africans looking to buy goods and services from international e-commerce firms that only accept card payments.

Safariom started M-Pesa in 2007, offering money transfer services between users. It has grown to allow users to make payments for goods and services through thousands of merchants.

It also allows users to save, borrow and buy insurance, through partnerships with commercial banks.

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