M-PESA Tightens Security: No More Transfers to Unregistered Accounts

Starting February 5th, 2024, sending money to unregistered M-PESA users will no longer be possible. This significant change announced by Safaricom aims to enhance security and combat financial risks within the mobile money platform. But what does this mean for you, and how will it impact your transactions?

Previously, M-PESA allowed transfers to both registered and unregistered users. However, concerns about anonymity and potential misuse have prompted this shift. Unregistered accounts lack the identification linked to registered ones, making it harder to track suspicious activity and hold individuals accountable. This new rule essentially eliminates a layer of anonymity, promoting transparency and deterring criminal activity.

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Registered M-PESA users won’t experience any major changes. They can continue sending and receiving money seamlessly. However, those who frequently send money to unregistered recipients will need to find alternative solutions. This could involve:

  • Encouraging the recipient to register their M-PESA account. The registration process is relatively simple and requires a valid ID.
  • Utilizing alternative money transfer services that allow transactions between registered and unregistered users. However, fees and limitations might apply.
  • Opting for cash transactions if applicable.

Potential Benefits

This change is expected to bring several benefits, including:

  • Increased security: Reduced anonymity makes it harder for criminals to launder money or exploit the system for fraudulent activities.
  • Enhanced financial inclusion: Encouraging registration brings more users into the formal financial system, promoting wider access to financial services.
  • Improved regulatory compliance: By aligning with international standards on anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), Safaricom strengthens its position and mitigates potential legal risks.


Challenges and Concerns

While the long-term goals are positive, some challenges and concerns might arise in the short term:

  • Inconvenience for users who relied on sending money to unregistered recipients. Adapting to new methods might require time and effort.
  • Potential impact on small businesses or informal transactions that relied on anonymity. Alternative solutions might not be as convenient or cost-effective.
  • Digital divide: Individuals without access to smartphones or proper registration documents might face exclusion.


Safaricom’s decision to end transfers to unregistered M-PESA accounts prioritizes security and compliance. While some users might face initial inconvenience, the long-term benefits for financial safety and inclusion are undeniable. Adapting to this change might require adjustments, but it ultimately contributes to a more secure and robust mobile money ecosystem in Kenya.

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