M-Pesa Go is Safaricom’s latest M-Pesa product. It is targeted at teenage kids of between 10 and 17 years of age.
That is to say, M-Pesa Go targets kids who are just old enough to have their own mobile phones but not yet of legal age (i.e. yet to turn 18 years). As many would know, so far, it is impossible for kids in that age bracket to transact using mobile money, yet, mobile money, as we know it, is almost a must-have in Kenya. This has been the case for the over a decade in which M-Pesa has existed in the Kenyan market. As things have been, parents and guardians usually organize for transactions involving e-money through other adults like, say, teachers.
With M-Pesa Go, where mobile phone usage is permissible, that is now a thing of the past.
How to get started on M-Pesa Go
This is easy. The custodian of a child (a parent or a guardian) has to go to a nearby Safaricom outlet (official retail shop or authorized dealer) or M-Pesa agent with a copy of their own identification document (national ID, military ID or passport) and the minor’s birth certificate. Of course, it goes without saying that the custodian needs to be registered on M-Pesa/have an active SIM that is registered to use M-Pesa.
There is also a self-onboarding option available to parents and guardians who had already registered mobile lines for their children (something that is already far too common in Kenya, especially among urbanites).
How it works
M-Pesa Go lets minors access various crucial M-Pesa services without needing the intervention of an adult. However, it allows them to access those services but with the supervision of an adult, where the adult deems it necessary to do so.
Upon registration, a parent or guardian can set parental controls for their child by simply dialing *334# (the M-Pesa short code) and following the on-screen prompts in this order: My Account > Manage Junior Account > Manage Junior Relationship > Add Junior Customer > Enter Junior mobile number > Enter Child date of birth > Enter M-PESA PIN. After this, a notification will be sent confirming the successful addition of a Junior account to be monitored by the parent/guardian.
Parents and guardians can use these parental controls to regulate their children’s spending. For instance, a parent/guardian can set transaction limits per day, week or month.
Without the aforesaid parental controls, minors have access to the same transaction limits as anyone else i.e. Kshs 300,000 per day.
Activities that may compromise the M-Pesa Go line like requesting for a SIM swap, a PUK number or the resetting of an M-Pesa PIN will require the intervention of the registered parent/guardian of the child.
Minors on M-Pesa Go can send and receive money (including from banks). Additionally, they can access services such as Lipa na M-Pesa PayBill and Buy Goods and they can purchase airtime and bundles. However, they are limited from being able to withdraw money as that particular activity requires proof of documentation (a national ID, military ID or passport) that they do not have. Minors are also not able to make any payments to Lipa na M-Pesa numbers associated with political parties and betting companies. Lastly, minors cannot access loan and overdraft facilities within M-Pesa (i.e. M-Shwari and Fuliza).
As with the transaction limits, parents can define and limit any of the allowable services on M-Pesa Go by simply engaging the M-Pesa short code (*334#), going to My Account, selecting Manage Junior Account, selecting Manage Services and choosing what to enable and/or disable. There is no limit to the number of times a parent/guardian can disable or enable a service.
Parents/guardians can also query the account balance from the Manage Junior Account menu via the short code and see the last 5 M-Pesa transactions made.
For parents or guardians with several kids, the maximum number of kids that can be associated with an adult’s M-Pesa line is 4. Any overflow will have to be taken care of by another registered Safaricom M-Pesa line – like of the other parent, for example, or one’s secondary line, where such exists.
For the kids, there’s an easy way to use M-Pesa if they have a smartphone: the M-Pesa Go app.
The app is not yet live on the Google Play Store as at the time of publication but we will add it here as soon as it is public.