M-Pesa launches Patala Ka M-Pesa

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…service expected to simplify online purchases

Bereng Mpaki/Tsoloane Mohlomi

M-PESA users can now make online purchases from their mobile money accounts, thanks to the introduction of the Patala Ka M-Pesa payment service by the VCL Financial Services (VFS).

The new service allows businesses and organisations to accept M-Pesa payments for their online sales.

The businesses’ websites will have a button which allows clients to make online payments using funds in their M-Pesa accounts.

Among others, M-Pesa merchants can use the solution to collect payments, process refunds, set up recurring payment plans and reconcile transactions through the new offering.

VFS partnered with software solutions company, Enigma, for the solution which was unveiled this week.

VFS managing director, Palesa Mphunyetsane, said the product was aimed at offering convenience to their customers by building linkages between mobile money market and retail platforms.

The offering will be useful for small business development and advancing transactions for non-profit making organisations, Ms Mphunyetsane said.

“Customers will have a smoother payment experience while shopping online through this payment service,” Ms Mphunyetsane said.

“The platform is secure and runs on existing M-Pesa infrastructure, giving customers and businesses a peace of mind that they are transacting with a reputable service provider.

“Through Patala Ka M-Pesa, we are looking to build a link between mobile money market, and retail and e-commerce platforms. This new payment service, which is linked to a mobile wallet, will allow merchants to reconcile transactions more accurately and reliably by digitising payments.”

Ms Mphunyetsane said the pay service would also work in other African countries that have the M-Pesa service.

“We are gradually trying to create a cashless society. In other jurisdictions like Kenya, one can even purchase a flight ticket online using M-Pesa or even pay for an uber and that is where we are aspiring to go.”

The service has already been taken up by merchants such as Maletsunyane Braai Festival, the Examinations Council of Lesotho (ECOL) and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA), according to Ms Mphunyetsane.

Malatola Phothane, VFS commercial manager, said businesses interested in the services must be existing merchants, or register for the M-Pesa business account. Once registered, the M-Pesa team will start the integration.

He said accessing the service was free for merchants.

The launch, he said, complemented other initiatives by VFS like Ntlatse, international money transfer and the M-Pesa App, which are all designed to usher in a digital economy and a cashless society.

Tlali Sethobane from ECOL said the platform allowed their clients to register and pay their LGCSE or Junior Certificate examination fees.

He said the service would reduce congestion of pupils at the ECOL offices to pay their examination fees.

On his part, Mariti Mariti, the sponsorship and stakeholder manager at Maletsunyane Braai Festival, said the product would help them run a cashless event to avoid challenges associated with handling cash.

“We are happy to finally have this product as our customers can now purchase tickets on our website and we will no longer expect usage of cash at the event,” Mr Mariti said.

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