After a lot of pressure from the developer community, Safaricom has announced it will be releasing the MPESA API.
The MPESA API platform comes as a result of a recent upgrade that Safaricom conducted on its MPESA platform. The old system, which the company described as G1, could only handle payments through what is known as Instant Payment Notification or IPN. To enable IPN the system had to create a number of workarounds to automate the payments. However, with the new system known as G2, they have solved this issue.
G2 does much more. As the use of MPESA has grown, so has the potential uses for the technology, such that no serious institution in Kenya can do business without integrating MPESA into their customer relationship model. Due to the growth it is now necessary to enable MPESA handle B2C, C2B and B2B transactions. This will now be possible through the MPESA API.
Some of the possibilities that the MPESA API now promises include automated payment receipt processing which will be very useful for utility bills, mobile, and e-commerce. The system comes with better security and validation that did not exist in the previous system.
Another ability is automating the payment of disbursements. This would work in business to consumer transactions. The MPESA API enables developers seamlessly integrate different aspects of the payment process, and lastly the API will also enable reversals much more smoothly, in a case where, for example a customer pays for goods and services that are no longer offered by a merchant.
Clearly, the release of the MPESA API presents clear opportunities for merchants and developers, and the possibility of integrating mobile payments into the block chain. While we can only dream up the kind of innovations that the MPESA API will spawn, its release to the public is now a clear sign that MPESA has come of age and is ready to go global.
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