Safaricom eyes share of rental market pie

Safaricom general manager (financial services) Betty Mwangi-Thuo and chief executive officer Bob Collymore during the launch of the Lipa Na M-Pesa campaign. Using your smartphone to make payments in shops or public transport should become more widespread this year. FILE |

What you need to know:

  • The service dubbed ‘Lipa Kodi na MPesa’ is likely to eat into direct bank payments of rental charges by tenants.

Safaricom has set its eyes on the Sh17.2 billion rental market by unveiling a rent collection and payment service using mobile phone.

The service dubbed ‘Lipa Kodi na MPesa’ is likely to eat into direct bank payments of rental charges by tenants.

The customers will pay Sh6 for transactions of up to Sh5,000 in the graduated scheme that will see those paying rent of between Sh50,000 and Sh70,000 charged a transaction fee of Sh220.

“Lipa Kodi (Kiswahili for pay your rent fees) is designed to offer convenience and cost-efficiency to tenants, landlords and housing agents by providing them with a safe and reliable rent payment and collection mode,” said Safaricom’s general manager for financial services, Betty Mwangi-Thuo.

The company plans to recruit into the new service estate agents, diaspora landlords, local authority and private landlords in the next financial year.

Mwangi-Thuo said the move is part of the mobile firm’s plan to broaden financial services through the mobile phone.

Kenya’s rental market is valued at an estimated Sh17.2 billion, which is 21 per cent of the total value of the real estate market in the country.  There are about 6.5 million rental households in the country, according to 2009 population census.

Statistics from the World Bank indicate that the average rent paid in urban centres is Sh5,89.

Mobile money transfer services continue to grow. Currently, customers pay electricity bills through the phone.

Last year 18 per cent of Safaricom’s income came from money transfer services.

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