August 19, 2018

Safaricom opens M-Pesa API to Developers

mpesa phone

By Etaarifa Contributor

Telecommunication giant, Safaricom has opened up its M-Pesa Application Programming Interface (API) to developers. This is after a successful transfer of its servers from Germany and a simultaneous upgrade to the new M-PESA 2nd generation (G2) platform which offers versatile integration capabilities.

The secure API will allow for third party applications to easily plug into M-PESA. The upgrade covers both disbursements (Business to Customers – B2C) and service payments (Customer to Business – C2B and Business to Business – B2B). The API provides open interfaces over standard protocols through web services. Unlike the old system where a lot of workarounds had been done to automate payment experiences, developers can now hook directly to the core M-PESA.

Before G2, payment processing was handled purely through Instant Payment Notification. With the new system, the notifications are taken a notch higher by incorporating an optional payment validation step for Paybill. This allows the payment recipient (merchants) to confirm whether to accept the incoming payment or not. This small change will reduce error rates (thus fewer reversal requests) while improving customer experience.

With the B2C API, automated payment disbursements is now seamless, cutting off manual process of generating file payments and third party approval. With a lot more automation, web payments and machine to machine payments are also incorporated.

This is expected to enhance the volume of transactions handled through M-Pesa depending on the efforts of developers to create various integrations.

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