Kenya is the world leader in mobile phone money transfer services. This is mainly due to the popularity of Mpesa. This service was a perfect solution to the problem of money transfer and reaching the unbanked.

What you require:

  • Branded and secure business premises
  • Mpesa Agent Line (Till) 
  • Working capital (efloat)

Services that an Mpesa Agent offers:

  • Receiving deposits from customers
  •  Offerings Withdrawals(give cash) to customers
  • Registration of new customers

What you need to know:

Acquiring an Mpesa Agent Line (Till)
This is needed for you to run an Mpesa Business. The Mpesa Agent Till operates or runs on a customized SIM Card.
There are two ways to get an Mpesa till:

Applying directly to Safaricom – Safaricom has set up requirements for being an agent. This might be a challenge for small investors because of the amount of cash involved and the time it takes to get approved. It is suitable to those who want to run Mpesa as their main business.

Applying via Principal Agent -This is the easier option of setting up an Mpesa business for small investors. You approach an agent who already owns and manages Mpesa outlets (principal). A principal manages several agents under his company which might be his/her own outlets or subletting.

The principal will be sub-letting one of his agent tills to you or he will apply for a new till from Safaricom on your behalf. This will normally involve making an agreement-formal or informal. The commission structure ranges between 20-30% for the principal while you get to keep the rest. Sometimes you might be asked for goodwill.
If the principal approves your request, Mpesa Supervisor from Safaricom evaluates the new outlet and if he/she is satisfied, you may start business.
The next stage is e-float (money on your Mpesa phone for deposits) and liquid cash for withdrawals, brand your outlets according to Mpesa guidelines and probably some training.

Mpesa income comes in the form of commissions. Your business will be to take deposits and accept withdrawals. These transactions have different rates of commissions which is dependent on the volume and value of transactions you perform throughout the month. To earn a good income, invest enough funds in e-float and liquid cash, low funds might hurt your agent commissions.

This is one of the most common forms of business currently in Kenya. So many investors have entered this field that sometimes it seems like it is saturated. However there are still many opportunities available for this business. It is all in location. Take the services closer to the customers. There are still many areas where people have to walk long distances to access the service.