Safaricom's Mpesa 1 Tap a summary of thoughts

Continuing the discussion from Safaricom Lipa na Mpesa Pilot still ongoing with 16,000 users:

Mpesa 1 Tap launched today on paper, but we aren’t sure when it starts being in use outside of the Nakuru Pilot. That aside I will go again over the dynamics. Two links below have a lot on what to expect and how it works.

Now if I’m gonna repeat myself it’s probably for those of you who won’t click through to read the articles. But I definitely can’t exhaust what’s covered in the two articles.
Mpesa 1 Tap card, wristband and sticker are all basically NFC tags to ensure any phone can connect the NFC point of sale device to the SIM tool-kit. That’s it, beyond that they are all dumb. Anyone who thought this an opportunity to start wearing a fitness tracker will be disappointed. The only thing that is powered is the POS which is like a dumb phone with cellular network connectivity, keys for sign ups and payments processing and NFC on the back.

NFC phones don’t have any advantage here, so return those to your pockets and sit in the queue. As far as Mpesa 1 Tap, we are all equal. Not even Mpesa service PIN which is a preserve of smartphones, the POS pushes a request for your Mpesa PIN for payment confirmation.

On the POS screen you have the Mpesa transaction confirmation and a hashed out phone number, you also get the usual Mpesa confirmation code.

We still don’t know when the rollout of service goes outside Nakuru, I guess I mentioned that earlier. The hardware is free for both merchants and Mpesa customers. For Mpesa customers you get to choose which one works for you, not more than one. So you can pick either the NFC sticker, wristband or card.

The cards used on pilot with Safaricom employees and university students was PIN and chip, you enter Mpesa PIN on the POS when the card is plugged in, the design has changed and there is no chip outside of NFC tag. If you ask me, that implementation is quite good, just that they need to cater to us people with NFC to not need an extra hardware.

I totally agree. They should leverage the MySafaricom app (that they keep pushing people to use) and let the app interface with the POS to allow those of use with NFC capable phones just tap and go. I would even advocate for Fingerprint verifivation as opposed to PIN.


I don’t understand what Safaricom is trying to do but success of this Nfc payment chip and method depends on retailers and outlets adopting it otherwise its a flop coz this generation everyone is geared towards visa

Don’t be so sure about that. There has been enough prepay cards but people use Mpesa to transfer cash or make payments more. Even with those debit cards, people go to ATM next to the supermarket, withdraw and pay cash, but you don’t see people withdrawing Mpesa to go and pay cash when there is a Paybill. Remember paying via card is free to the user.


Some people have phones with NFC, it funny they have not put that into consideration. Matter of fact, banks are even sleeping on the uses of NFC.

I always pay with the card, why withdraw cash?

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This was said at a forum by former Nakumatt CMO, Ramamurthy. That most people do that.

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Payment, on the other hand, takes a straight-forward approach. Upon purchasing goods/services, a merchant will enter the value of the products, followed by the tapping of the NFC Tag/Card/Wristband on the POS machine. You will be prompted to enter the pin (on your phone) to authorize the transaction.

Someone explain to me how the POS will transmit the PIN request to a Nokia 3310 while i’m wearing an NFC band.

First they should have started with the MPESA 1 Tap wrist band,they give it out for free to all attendees and testing for payments to all retailers and merchants at their events i.e. Safaricom Jazz Festival,Lewa Marathons,Safaricom Open days e.t.c.This events can help organically test the devices and rollout as well as generate the hype and adoption of the product.They can also do a mega huge concert with artists n stuff like the ones they have done previously.

The NFC stickers should be given to all subscribers for free at their safaricom stores countrywide and use their marketing machinery and creative ads to sell the ideas to kenyans,A small rollout in Nakuru is not going to help them much.They can also use all their customer services reps to market the product hard by offering discounts and incentives.

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Of you ask me, then probably wanted Nakuru to see whether customers will pick and use the product without needing incentives. If that works they can send resources to do a large scale roll-out.

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So a twist has emerged that this “IDEA” was stolen

In my opinion, you can only fight a Patent, not an idea. Good luck to them.

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I remember sometime back i said safaricom is using youths and entrepreneurs but i have my doubts if this nfc thing will thrive

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My thoughts it won’t, they should have used MasterCard PayPass or Visa PayWave.[quote=“Pascal, post:13, topic:1136”]
i said safaricom is using youths and entrepreneurs

This is becoming a lesson to young people, do not share ideas to corporations unless copyrighted and or patented. 10 out of 10 times, the little person gets the short end of the stick.

“Cough, cough”

We just need a robust patent office, but this being Kenya this will be corrupted.

Your Nokia 3310 is a dumb phone, which is why it’ll need an NFC transmitter (your wristband) so that it can send/receive information to/from other NFC devices (for the this case, the merchant’s POS) without the need for a power source of its own. However, it doesn’t really process any information sent from the POS other than prompt you to enter the PIN, and it can’t connect to other passive components (like another 3310).
On the other hand, an active device is able to both send and receive data, and can communicate with other devices as well as with passive devices (an example is a smartphone with inbuilt NFC).

The NFC tag/card/wristband are all connected to your phone number. The SIM ToolKit is an app on your SIM, thus your Nokia 3310 will be able to communicate with the POS through the SIM Toolkit and that is how your PIN will be prompted on your phone.

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So the connection is via GSM. Understood.

Did this Gikabu guy patent his idea?

No he did not, I feel sorry for him for sending sensitive information to a Safaricom employee. The NDA he is claiming was not signed by both parties which is inadmissible in any court of law.

Gikabu was dumb to do this on email,he should have sought a physical meeting and have actual physical documents signed before showing them.I agree with boaz…Gikabu has already lost this

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This is so unfortunate. I thought that by now people would have learnt to patent their ideas before presenting them to potential funders/partners? Or is it that getting patents is difficult here in Kenya?

Haven’t people learnt that Safaricom and others STEAL ideas that haven’t been patented or copyrighted? Remember the case of Mpesa? Of Kilimani Mums?