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Send to M-PESA accounts in Kenya

What is M-PESA?

M-PESA Kenya is an electronic mobile money service that allows you to store, send and receive money on your mobile phone. With an M-PESA account, you can transfer cash and shop for products and services. You can also withdraw cash by visiting an agent (typically in a corner shop) or transfer it to others from your phone. This makes it a quick, safe and simple way to make payments and handle money.

Key facts about M-PESA

  • M-Pesa is one of the innovative tools that’s been born out of a collaboration of telecommunications and banking sectors in East Africa
  • It was launched in Kenya and is now used in 10 countries, including India and Romania.  
  • New technology in the financial sector has made it possible for financial services and products, like M-Pesa, to be accessible at small costs.
  • M-Pesa makes it possible for unbanked people to pay for and receive goods and services using a mobile phone instead of utilising a brick-and-mortar bank

How does M-PESA work?

M-PESA is a virtual banking system (mobile money service) that offers transaction services through a SIM card on a mobile phone. In Kenya this must be with a Safaricom SIM card. The SIM card is inserted into the card slot of the mobile device and users can receive and store money, as well as make payments and transfer money to vendors and family members using SMS messages.

It’s particularly useful to users who have no bank accounts and live in remote rural areas. They are able to access the numerous M-PESA outlets distributed across the country. Money that needs to be stored is given to the kiosk attendant, who transfers the amount in digital form to their M-PESA account that sits on their phone.

How do I open a M-PESA account?


To open an M-PESA account you must register first by visiting an M-PESA agent outlet, Safaricom shop or Care Desk to register. You’ll need a mobile phone with a Safaricom SIM card and valid identification document, which can be:

  • Kenyan National ID
  • Valid Kenyan Passport
  • Valid Foreign Passport
  • Kenya Military ID
  • Kenyan Foreigner Certificate

Please note that valid foreign passports, Kenya Military ID and Foreigner Certificate must be registered at a Safaricom shop or Care Desk as the Agent can only register users with Kenyan passports or National ID.

You’ll receive a confirmation message and numeric start key PIN to activate M-PESA on your phone. Then you and the agent will fill in and sign a registration form – which you’ll keep as proof of registration.


After successfully registering, you’ll need to activate M-PESA on your phone using the 4-digit M-PESA PIN sent by SMS after registration.

Here’s how:

Go to the SAFARICOM menu on your phone and:

  • Select M-PESA menu, then select Activate
  • Enter the M-PESA PIN received via SMS
  • Create your own secret PIN (4-digit number) and confirm it
  • Enter ID number – same one used during registration
  • On successful activation, you’ll receive a confirmation message with your balance

With the M-PESA menu on your phone, under Safaricom, you can now store, send and receive money and airtime using your mobile phone. You can buy items in shops or online, pay bills, school fees, and top up mobile airtime. You can also withdraw cash at authorised agents.

How to send money to M-PESA in Kenya

You can send a money transfer to M-PESA in minutes using any device. The transfer can be paid for using a debit or credit card and the funds will usually be credited instantly. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit our homepage and select Kenya from the 'choose a country to send to' dropdown list
  2. You’ll be guided to the Kenya home page.
  3. Select ‘Mobile Money’ as the preferred service
  4. Enter the amount you want to send
  5. Log in or create an account if you haven’t already
  6. Select someone you’ve sent to before or add the details of a new recipient (we’ll need their mobile money account number)
  7. Pay online

We’ll send you and your recipient SMS and email notifications when the funds have been credited

There’s a maximum limit of USD 5,000 (per transfer) or the Kenyan Shilling equivalent.

What are M-PESA’s charges?

M-PESA tariffs
Withdrawal from M-PESA Agent: from 10From 10 KSHsTo 300 KSHs
Transfer to Unregistered UsersFrom 45 KSHsTo 309 KSHs
Transfer to other M-PESA UsersFrom FREE*To 105 KSHs
Transfer to Unregistered UsersFrom 45 KSHsTo 309 KSHs
Transfer to other Mobile Money UsersFrom 11KSHsTo 105 KSHs
ATM WithdrawalFrom 34KSHsTo 197 KSHs

Why use M-PESA to send money to Kenya?

  • Money is added instantly to M-PESA accounts once payment is approved.
  • Your recipients don’t have to carry large amounts of cash with them, which can be unsafe.
  • There’s no need for your recipient to travel to a pickup location, they will have the money delivered right to their phone. It couldn’t be easier!

What do you need to send to M-PESA accounts?

  • Check that your recipient already has a M-PESA mobile money account.
  • Check that you have your recipient's mobile money number.

Select the service ‘Mobile Money’ and enter the amount you’d like to send.

Is it safe to send money to Kenya via M-PESA?

Yes. Money that’s transferred to family or friends in Kenya via M-PESA is stored safely in a ring-fenced account, also known as a trust account. This account is linked to the mobile phone of each customer. A central platform also securely tracks the value of an individual’s account. That means the money will still be in their M-PESA account even if the phone or SIM card is lost.

What are the benefits of M-PESA?

Sending money to Kenya via M-PESA is a low-cost, fast and safe way to pay, transfer, receive and store money. M-PESA works digitally and in real time, which means your family or friends living, working or travelling in Kenya will receive the money much more quickly than a traditional bank transfer. Every transfer is also protected and signed with a PIN, which helps to keep the whole process secure.

There are also no service charges on an M-PESA account. Instead, the user pays on a pay-as-you-go basis every time they perform a transfer. There’s also no minimum amount that can be held in an M-PESA account, so it remains open even when it’s empty.

Watch Jennifer and Seppo’s story to see how M-PESA impacts the lives of Kenyans every day.

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