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Google Play integrates M-Pesa as new mode of payment

Google Play integrates M-Pesa as new mode of payment

Multinational technology company, Google has integrated Kenya's primary mobile payment service M-Pesa into its Google Play store as an alternative mode of payment.

The integration, which is powered by DOCOMO Digital's (owned by Japan's largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo) mobile commerce enabling platform using Google Play's payment API, allows M-Pesa customers to use the mobile money service to pay for goods and services from the app store.

A joint statement published by Businesswire notes that the service is available to more than 27 million M-Pesa customers in Kenya with an Android smartphone or tablet.

According to a report from Kachwanya, previously, customers could only pay using credit cards, which are inaccessible to most Kenyans.

Mahir Sahin, head of Android partnerships in Africa says the firm is thrilled to bring Google Play carrier billing to Kenya, "Carrier billing is very important to the developer ecosystem in markets where credit card is very low, with this partnership, M-Pesa will play a critical role in the app ecosystem."

Safaricom says integrating M-Pesa into Google Play is part of its larger objectives to evolve the service well-beyond the foundational money transfer offering.

Joseph Ogutu, Director of Strategy, Safaricom, said: "Partnerships have been instrumental in deepening the convenience and value of M-Pesa to our customers."

According to Hiroyuki Sato, CEO of DOCOMO Digital, M-Pesa has long been an innovator and leader in the mobile money space. "We are very excited to partner with them to bring this service to market. First steps like this are absolutely essential on the journey to connecting consumers, merchants, operators and service providers together to create a fair and inclusive ecosystem for everybody."

The move follows increased pressure across the continent for mobile money services to enable interoperability. Recently, M-Pesa partnered with Airtel Money to undertake a pilot of mobile money interoperability in Kenya ahead of a tentative launch of the cross-network service countrywide in March.

African telecom companies offering mobile money services are more inclined to regional interoperability than national cross network money transfers and other transactions as they continue to seek a share of the regional remittance market dominated by banks and money transfer agencies.

Although mobile money interoperability inside most African markets is staggered, mobile money platforms in East, West and Central Africa have opened up cross border mobile money transfers.

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