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Sneaky Kenyans are reversing M-Pesa, leaving matatu operators high and dry

Some matatus that have no paybill numbers are skeptical about using M-Pesa to receive payments as some sneaky Kenyans have resorted to sneaky ways to robe them of fares.

Matatu operators have complained some passengers  have been reversing the fares paid through mobile money transfer platforms as soon as they alight.

Passengers paying their fares through the service follow the standard procedure when sending money to another person, keying the number provided by the crew.

A tout lamented that he lost more than a Sh1,000 last week which was deducted from his daily wages by the owner of the commuter matatu.

“I no longer allow people to pay with M-pesa after I lost that money, I have informed the boss to get a paybill so that we do not lose money again,” he said.

Responding to the complaints from some of the matatus, a Safaricom representative said before the money is reversed they call the owner of the number several times and if they do not respond the money is automatically reversed.

“We usually contact the recipient and if they are unreachable up to 3-5 attempts, the transaction will be reversed,” said the telcos representative.

Safaricom recently launched a partnership with public transport sector players to facilitate cashless payments through M-Pesa in a bid to tame the spread of Covid-19.

The partnership roped in more than 200 vehicles to the mobile money service.

The service has already been deployed to more than 300 City Star Shuttle buses in Nairobi with additional players targeted in the coming days, helping them to comply with the government’s directives to combat the spread of coronavirus.

According to Computer Abuse and Cyber Crimes Act, 2018 failing to reverse an M-Pesa transaction made by mistake will see Kenyans pay a Sh200,000 fine or be jailed for two years, or both.

Section 34 of the Act targets those who intentionally hide or hold electronic messages, electronic payments, credit and debit card details sent in error.

Section 36 states that a person who unlawfully destroys or aborts any electronic email or processes through which money or information is being conveyed commits an offence.

The law also states that inducing any person in charge of electronic devices to deliver any electronic messages not specifically meant for someone is an offence.

The government has also asked players in the financial sector to cut costs of cashless transactions to avoid the risk of spreading the virus using bank notes.