In January of 2020, I wrote an article on the Privacy concerns brought about by M-Pesa focusing on Hakikisha and the data you leave with businesses whenever you pay. Since then, we’ve seen some shifts by the company:
- Pochi la Biashara came first hiding the phone number
- and now a feature promised last year July will be rolling out finally hiding user’s second name and phone number.
Starting July 2022, Safaricom will be hiding details that could be used to identify persons whenever they use Lipa na M-Pesa. As it is now, you do leave a lot of personal information with businesses and companies whenever you pay for goods or services.
This information can easily be abused, and there’s no way Safaricom can control what these third parties do with this information. The only way around this is to block such businesses from accessing such information.
However, there needs to be a way to a business can ensure you’ve completed payment. Safaricom will now be truncating the personal data that a business can access. We all know that the most important data in an M-Pesa transaction is the CODE you get after any transaction. That will remain. However, only your first name and part of your phone number will be shown to the business.
For example, instead of for example, “David John 07200222111”, a business will now see “David 07xxxxx111”
Hopefully, in future we will be able to have such a feature roll out across not only all mobile money platforms with payments to businesses options, but also across interpersonal transfer of money. Maybe we will even get to see anonymous sending of money?