Opinion

Safaricom should introduce anonymous M-Pesa transfer feature

Okay, before you run down to the comments on why this is a terrible idea, or how it will make it easier for crimes and stuff like that, hear me out. Also, please don’t say “But crypto solves these issues…” Yeah yeah.

You sure have had times when you want to send someone money anonymously. Be it because you need to surprise them, or it’s a contribution and you don’t want your name out there, or you don’t trust the business with your name and details, or whatever the honest reason. And then you found out, you have no way out.

There seems to be no solution to such issues yet. Not through PayPal. Not through bank transfers. Not through mobile money. And for very many people (yeah crypto people), there’s really no way to send money to other parties anonymously.

Is it unsafe, really?

Think of it: you have the phone number/till number of the other person. You send them money. They receive it, but can’t tell the name or number of the person who sent it. However, Safaricom keeps a record of all transactions done on the platform, don’t they? So if a situation arises where there’s an issue, those records can be retraced.

No I am not saying Safaricom should make all M-Pesa transactions anonymous by default. That would cause chaos. However, this can be made to be an option for whoever wants it. Plus, it can be set to say 5 maximum anonymous transactions a day. Those are manageable records to be honest – if they need special storage, because not everyone will be using the feature anyway.

Some features Safaricom can have with anonymous M-Pesa service:

  • Maximum of 5 transactions a day.
  • Maximum limits to what can be sent anonymously can be set to a lower figure than M-Pesa’s limits.
  • You must not be able reverse a transaction.
  • Both the sender and the recipient must opt in to be able to receive and send anonymously.

These features will make anonymous M-Pesa something that’s not easily abused. You would be able to turn it on and off whenever. It would also be a great step into shifting to a more private way of sending and receiving money.


We already have features like ‘Private Calling’ on every phone out here. And you can never tell who called you, and that feature still ships all these years. So I don’t see why a similar M-Pesa feature shouldn’t exist.

For me, it is even helps fix the Privacy issues currently ailing the service.

I mean, Safaricom already allows people to view your full names without even sending you money. This is using Hakikisha which shows you the full details of any registered M-Pesa number. It works even better than Truecaller because it shows your official government names – to anyone with your number. Remember all the places you’ve left your number?

Let me know, would you use such a feature? What are some of the ways you think it could be abused.

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Dickson Otieno

I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to editor@tech-ish.com.

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