Google and Safaricom inked a working relationship with the introduction of M-Pesa Xpress billing sometime in 2018. Unfortunately, many people tried to add or buy apps and games but Mpesa Xpress was either unavailable or not working.
I can confirm that Mpesa Xpress billing is working and I’ve purchased apps and games without any issue at all. Bearing in mind, Mpesa is one of the most preferred and widely used means of money transfer in Kenya.
And with the introduction of the new billing method, it’s very hard to find people willing to buy anything using their credit or debit cards.
After conducting my own research, that’s why, in this post, I’ll go over in detail what you need to do. In that case, in order to add M-Pesa Xpress as a payment method. And how to purchase apps and games on Google Play Store using Mpesa.
In reality, this new app development has us (jmexclusives) excited, next, we hope to see Google allow Kenyan Developers to hold merchant accounts.
What is M-Pesa Xpress?
M-Pesa Xpress is a service offered to M-Pesa registered customers with Android phones to be able to purchase applications and digital goods from the Google play store using M-PESA as a payment option.
The service is only offered to users in Kenya with registered M-Pesa accounts, Google accounts, and Android devices. And for the longest time possible, tech-savvy Kenyans have desired to be able to purchase apps on Google Play Store via M-Pesa. But that has not been possible.
Admittedly, Kenyans are not the biggest fans of paying for services and apps fall under this category. Even for those who wanted to purchase apps, the credit/debit card requirement has always deterred many from doing so.
Surprisingly, Google has quietly enabled M-Pesa Xpress payments on the Google Play Store. Meaning that users can now purchase apps on the store and they will be charged directly to their M-Pesa. If it’s not yet obvious, the service only works on Android and it’s limited to Safaricom subscribers.
Why is M-Pesa Xpress important?
Of course, you could say; M-Pesa is big in Kenya. It has made its way into virtually every aspect of our lives and today, we get a whole new convenience. Thanks to a new integration powered DOCOMO Digital, (‘the most innovative alternative payment methods enabler’).
Obviously, there are more than 27 Million M-Pesa users in Kenya with Android phones or even tablets. And now, they can use the mobile banking platform to purchase apps and make payments on the Google Play Store.
Speaking to press during the launch of this service, Director of Strategy for Safaricom, Joseph Ogutu said and I quote;
Partnerships have been instrumental in deepening the convenience and value of M-Pesa to our customers. Today’s partnership will empower our customers to access Google Play content and further underlines our commitment to providing more choice and convenience to them.
This is no doubt a sigh of relief to users on this side of the planet. Until now, the only other way to make payments to the Play Sture was by using credit cards.
However, this didn’t work for everyone as most banks block online services on their Visa and MasterCards by default. Not to mention, the exchange rates to USD, and the hidden charges were also a hindrance.
How do I make Payments on Play Store using M-Pesa?
First of all, it goes without saying that you must meet the basic criteria to be able to do this. Whereby, you must have an Android device with the latest version of the Play Store.
In addition, you must be a Safaricom subscriber with an M-PESA account. And for folks with dual sim devices, it pays to deactivate your secondary sim so Safaricom is the only one active. Also in my experience, you might need to change the default sim card for SMS to Safaricom.
So, please note that you need to add M-Pesa using your Android device. If you try to add M-Pesa from the web interface this will not work.
After ensuring you have all these prerequisites, to set it up, simply open your Google Play Store:
- Open your Play Store and select Account from the left slide-out menu,
- Select Payment Options,
- Under this menu, you should see M-Pesa Xpress,
Proceed with the Set-up Steps to associate Play Store with your Safaricom Number.
It’s important to realize, when purchasing an app for the 1st time you will be forced to set up a payment option.
Select M-Pesa Xpress billing, register your details, and proceed to purchase.
Once you confirm you have M-Pesa Xpress payment option:
- Head over to an App you want to Purchase,
- Tap on the Price Tag,
- Ensure that your Payment Method is set to M-Pesa Xpress,
- If you have not set up any other method of payment method, M-Pesa Xpress will be set as the Default Payment Method.
- Tap on Buy. A pop-up window will appear on your screen and you will be prompted to enter your M-Pesa PIN.
Once successful, you will receive a notification regarding the payment from Google and M-Pesa.
If you have a credit or debit card linked to your Google account, you can still set up M-Pesa as a payment method.
Note: At any given stage, M-Pesa transaction charges apply, so that could be a deal-breaker for some of you. I have also realized that the M-Pesa option does not immediately appear for everyone yet. So, if you don’t have it, be patient.
Finally, I hope the above review guide was useful to you. But, if you’ll need more support, please feel free to Contact Us.
So, What do you think about M-Pesa Xpress? You can help us and other readers like you by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.