M-Pesa users can now send money on the mobile app while hiding their personal information from the recipient in a recent enhancement intended to fight spamming and identity theft.
When using PrivaPay, an app released by software start-up Siri Yangu Limited, recipients of M-Pesa transfers will not be able to see the sender’s identity or phone number. The ability will be helpful for charitable giving and payment processing, according to the developer.
Through the user’s M-Pesa wallet, the service just acts as a payment transmitter, choosing funds to send. For instance, transferring Sh100 will cost Sh13 in total, with Sh4 taken by M-Pesa and Sh9 added by PrivPay. An equivalent transaction is free on the M-Pesa ecosystem.
“With the growing interest in consumer and data protection solutions in Kenya, I believe this is such a timely innovation that will resonate with many who are keen on data privacy and safety, especially in mobile money transfers,” said Siri Yangu product manager Sandra Mbuvi.
The use of mobile money has exposed customers to data leaks, including contact information used for mass marketing.
Customers of M-Pesa are currently the only ones who can use the PrivPay app, which is accessible for both Android and iOS. However, Siri Yangu has announced that the service will soon be extended to Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash and Airtel Money.
When the transaction is successful, PrivPay sends a message to the sender confirming that the receiver has received the funds, and M-Pesa receives a message confirming that the user has paid Siri Yangu Limited.
Contrarily, the recipient receives two messages—one from PrivPay and the other from M-Pesa—neither of which discloses the sender’s name but does provide a description of the payment.
A set of laws passed by Parliament last year mandate that businesses that handle personal data as data controllers and data processors register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).
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