Kenya Central Bank to Regulate Financial Super Apps Like M-PESA

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) says it will start regulating financial super apps such as Safaricom’s M-PESA, according to its 2021 banking supervision report.

The reason behind the focus on super apps is that these platforms have the potential to account for more transactions that have traditionally been handled by banks directly.

The M-PESA super app, a prime example, includes mini-apps from different businesses including banks, airlines, and utility firms. The app has been downloaded more than five million times on Google Play Store.

From the super app, users can access other services, including:

  • DStv
  • Train service – Madaraka Express
  • Bus Booking firm, BuuPass
  • National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)


SEE ALSO: The Central Bank of Kenya Officially Publishes Regulations to Protect Consumers from Digital Lenders


Remember, the app does this in addition to primary M-PESA mobile money services such as sending and withdrawing money. Also, the super app offers loans services, like M-SHWARI and KCB MPESA, which are underwritten by banks.

According to the CBK latest banking supervision report:

For banks, this means that an increasing number of users may bypass banking apps and simply use the more integrated super app.”

– Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)

The regulatory framework will need to be agile to regulate super apps offering e-commerce, loans, insurance products, investing platforms, etc. within the same platform.

Collaboration among different sector regulators will be critical for a 360-degree oversight of super apps.

With mobile money usage climbing to more than 60% of the total population, the bundling of multiple services with mobile money operators raises further fears about the future of the traditional banking sector in Kenya. The use of traditional bank accounts in the country dropped to 23.8% in 2021 from 29.6% in 2019, according to the 2021 FinAccess Household Survey.


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