Safaricom (Finally?) Simplifies Access to M-Pesa APIs
It seems this is the week of catching up on blog posts of nearly fresh news that I think is quite relevant and important for this blog. Case in point is that earlier this week Safaricom announced somewhat quietly(?) that they launched a portal that makes it easier for businesses to integrate with M-Pesa using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Its a given fact that M-Pesa is a beast given that its the largest mobile money platform by far in Kenya and globally in terms of transactions and users. One just has to take a look at their personal M-Pesa statements to see the massive ebb and flow of money that happens through their own account to realize just how dependent they are on M-Pesa from a financial perspective. M-Pesa IS money in Kenya, so to speak.
This is something of a much needed big deal since integrating with M-Pesa via APIs after these became available a couple of years ago was a labour intensive and complicated process. This meant that many businesses have not yet signed up and the technical chops to pull it off means that many simply avoided doing so. That being said, when you consider that M-Pesa is essentially Kenya’s own unique and preferred flavour of e-commerce, its a no-brainer that Safaricom (finally?) invested in streamlining the M-Pesa API integration process.
In order to get started, one has to access the M-Pesa APIs portal dubbed ‘Daraja’ here which cuts down the time it took before that used to be as many as 60 days to integrate! Daraja enables businesses of all sizes in Kenya to seamlessly integrate with Lipa Na M-PESA’s BuyGoods and PayBill cashless payments into mobile phone applications, websites, point of sale terminals and other business solutions. The range of diverse possibilities around all these connection points is representative of the massive reach M-Pesa has in Kenya. Its everywhere!
In my view, the biggest factor going forward is how fast and easy it will be for software developers to get plugged in and start using Daraja to integrate businesses with M-Pesa. I am especially keen to see how mobile apps and websites can have a streamlined user experience for M-Pesa payments, such as is the case with the likes of Sendy and Cellulant’s Mula which are two great examples of mobile apps that have M-Pesa API integration done right.
At launch, Daraja, which is still in beta, has the following M-Pesa APIs available for integration:
- Reversal: API for reversal transaction
- B2C: API for Mpesa Transaction from company to client
- Account Balance: API for balance inquiry
- Transaction Status: API to check the status of a transaction
- B2B: API for Mpesa Transaction from one company to another
- Lipa Na M-Pesa Online: API for Lipa Na M-Pesa online payment using STK Push
- OAuth: API for time bound access token to call allowed APIs
- C2B: API to register URL for Validation/Confirmation and Simulate transaction
One thing to note is that the Safaricom M-Pesa APIs support Representational state transfer (REST) or RESTful which basically means improved performance, scalability, and modifiability, that enables services to work best via the web and mobile apps. I can already hear the collective cheer of software developers all across Kenya on this one thing as it means its going to be a lot easier to integrate M-Pesa APIs for all sorts use cases in a really user-friendly and familiar manner for them! This also shows a major commitment on Safaricom’s part to expand the M-Pesa ecosystem into all sorts of financial transaction scenarios and effectively strengthen their grip on Kenya’s mobile money segment.