Safaricom is introducing an approval feature to combat fraudulent reversals. According to the firm, recipients will now be asked to approve M-Pesa reversals before they can be completed.
An automated call from the telco to the recipient will be made right after an M-Pesa reversal in the new feature, asking them to accept or decline. If the recipient agrees to the reverse, Safaricom will hold the money and release it back to the sender. They will have to provide evidence for their claim if they reject the reversal.
The action was taken in response to an increase in fraudulent reversals, which caused many businesses to stop accepting M-Pesa as a mode of payment. In order to stop the spread of the virus during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the government encouraged more individuals to use paperless payment methods.
A few months after several customers began using M-Pesa to pay their fares, the Matatus began displaying “No M-Pesa” stickers in favor of the more traditional way of accepting hard cash. The matatu operators claimed that they had started to lose money from commuters who sent money but then reversed it once they reached their destinations.
Although Safaricom has in the past followed up reversals with a phone call from agents, that was not always the case for all reversals. The new feature now employs the use of an automated call that seeks to approve or decline the reversal before it is concluded.
“Within a few seconds, you will be notified that the transaction reversal has been started, and an update will be shared within two hours. Safaricom will at this point begin engaging the second party, for the reversal.” Safaricom said in a write-up on its website.
Reversals are accomplished by sending the incorrect M-Pesa message to 456. A subscriber may also call Safaricom’s customer service line at 100 and give further information along with the request for a reversal