Safaricom's Mpesa 1 Tap a summary of thoughts


How do we get our hands on these 1tap devices and products and how much are they?


It’ll cost Ksh 20 to acquire one for the first time , Ksh 50 for a replacement and Ksh 100 for subsequent replacements(from Safaricom customer care).

Techweez has an [updated] article on this product.


The best way,I think,for Safaricom to have launched and deployed Mpesa 1tap is to use festivals and music/art concerts…the right mix of crowd, demographics and engagement with the wristbands,case covers and nfc tag cards.All vendors at the festivals could be given the POS to facilitate purchase of goods and services,then move onto entertainment spots like clubs,joints,pubs offering incentives for potential customers…Plus the prices for these tags are affordable and can easily go mainstream and become a wild success with the right strategy


At this point I can’t tell whether Mpesa 1Tap will be successful or not, given that one of the biggest selling point of Mpesa 1Tap was making the queue at the supermarket faster. Something that Interswitch just came in and dealt with, with their all inclusive PDQ that they just rolled out at Naivas. For the record, Naivas is one of the ‘champion’ merchants that Safaricom launched Mpesa 1Tap with, and I don’t see them going far with it, seeing that Naivas Pay already does what Mpesa 1Tap does.

Naivas Pay is a solution that’s available for other merchants, seeing that it’s Interswitch, they are in the business of scale, and thus naturally they will sell their product to others, every merchant that has a PDQ is a target. Every merchant that has a Lipa na Mpesa is a prime target for this product, and they can easily accept it than even Mpesa 1Tap, Mvisa and Masterpass. I’m also doubtful people who get the armband will wear it day to day. Its still easier to expect someone to have the Mpesa 1Tap card in their wallet than carry the arm band that does only that one thing.


So i got to pass by safaricom shop at kenyatta avenue and i was able to get an MPESA 1Tap wristband and a sticker for free,they activated for me on my two numbers (Its one device per line/phone no).The Lady also told me they are recruiting more merchants in the city and beyond.When i check her list (as at 2pm) she had signed up over 100 people,just today…Cant wait to test it out,i think MPESA 1Tap could be the best solution for payments in shops,supermarkets,petrol stations,concerts,cinemas and public transport…the merchants will be getting either the medium POS or a portable POS that looks the size of an ipod classic,it can even be hung over the neck with a lanyard.


I don’t know what their metric of success for this product would be - maybe it’s a trial run while researching for a bigger platform or it’s one of those 80/20 projects like at google to just see what sticks then invest into that.

I say this because I am still wondering why they would persist in trying to create proprietary solutions in an age where consumers are against that. Apple is massive and even it struggles when deciding on proprietary - didn’t create their own wireless charging standard and opted for Qi plus might switch to USB-C by 2019.

It’s as if SafCon is against partnering with businesses bigger than them even when the benefits are immediate - Samsung Pay would have been a great experiment. Focus on software, let more experienced people deal with hardware. Wearing a safcon arm band all the time or adding an extra card to keep removing your wallet all the time isn’t convenient. Using the phone that’s almost always in your hand is.

I hope banks are looking at this and learning. Would be interesting seeing them band together and partner with whatsapp (‘whatsapp pay’? :slight_smile: ) so people can deposit directly to their phone numbers and send to any number no matter the carrier. This would be huge. There are security issues to be addressed but with an agile approach, this would help de-monopolize the market

Exactly. SCALE. A product with diverse integration and immediately available Business Intelligence Data ready for mining in house beats a third party who would like to charge you to access the data they collected from you to begin with. The value they get from reduced switching charges might be outweighed by the trove of data they would get analysing payment patterns across their branches. Higher quality of data means they can sell it to research companies like Nielsen for a more premium rate.


Honestly, Safaricom’s Mpesa 1 Tap seems very locked. Most of these consumer’s have phones with NFC but still useless.


They are acting like Apple. They know most phones come with NFC but they don’t want you to use that. Instead, you have to buy one from them at a low price but once you replace it twice the cost of replacement will be more than double if I’m not wrong.


In my case, I don’t like those NFC rubber bands or like sticking my phone with anything.
I’ll skip that tech for now


So far i have not had the chance to use the safaricom Mpesa 1 tap nfc rubber bands,maybe merchant and consumer adoption isn’t going as planned.


Out of the three options I preferred the card most. I can’t use the other two, sticking something on my phone is out of the question and the arm band that doesn’t do anything else is also a no.

I wonder whether Safaricom will accept to embed Mpesa 1Tap to the standard NFC available on smartphones.


I think most ‘retailers’ don’t want it at all


Well… at least the card makes sense but this one also is going to force one to walk with it always. They should have option 4, USSD maybe?


with Little (Safaricom’s Ehailing platform) about to pilot their bus shuttle service soon,they could jumpstart this Mpesa 1tap as the exclusive means to pay for fare on this shuttle.It could have the effect of increasing demand for the nfc tags/bands and increasing engagement/use of these products as they could be used on an hourly,daily or weekly basis.Just a thought.


I agree with you on that thought


My understanding is that you can request for it to be set up at a Safaricom shop. Not confirmed though.


So after giving Saf the benefit of the doubt, 1tap is still underpar. I also tried using my phone to pay using the new safcom app and it didn’t read. Despite holding my phone on the reader for nearly a minute. They deployed the devices despite letting the people handling them learn through familiarity. All stores I pass by nowadays simply state that the device doesn’t work with the cards/ tags and just using it is stress.

I have officially put my card to its death. It now joins the business and name cards section in my wallet.


I wouldn’t wear that wrist band because of its advertising value to them. If I had to use 1 tap I would buy an NFC ring and clone the wrist band which, let’s agree, doesn’t look good at all. I know of several NFC ring makers from China with rings that can hold the data of many NFC chips.

On another note, wireless payment is a fledgling market in Kenya so safaricom is trying its damnest to get in on the ground floor before other innovative companies with the capital get in on the action.


Mpesa 1 Tap has really failed.I have not had the chance to use the wristband i got since most retailers,shops and sellers dont have readers for it.No terminals,i think this will take time,just look at how now lipa na mpesa till number is taking off in most outlets.Question is,how long can safaricom keep the public imagination captured by it.


I’ve tried the product a couple of times, and ironically, the old school Lipa Na MPESA system it’s supposed to trump over is somewhat faster owing to the fact that the three retail stores I visited had the POS machines off! Shockingly, it took them longer to navigate around them I felt sharp, judge-y stares cursing me for stalling the line.
Never again.