Mobile Money Interoperability: How to send money from MPESA to Airtel Money and vice versa

Since the year started, there were talks of an interoperability program between Safaricom MPESA and AirtelMoney, the mobile money offings from the two carriers. The platform then went on testing within the respective companies and last week, we saw that final roll out.

This interoperability means customers can seamlessly transfer funds from their respective mobile money services to other platforms and the funds would be reflected in their accounts. Previously, if you received funds from a different mobile money service, you would have to go look for a money agent from the sender’s network, withdraw all the funds received, look for your carrier’s money agent and deposit the said funds.

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Safaricom MPESA being the dominant player will naturally want to hold onto their customers. Expectedly, they have remained quiet on this new development. AirtelMoney, on the other hand, is all over the place. TV ads dubbed ‘Mambo ni nyweee’, billboards, online ads, branding on their social media pages, everything. This is clearly a one-sided affair.


From what I collected, this is how you send money to AirtelMoney from MPESA;

How to Send Money from MPESA to AirtelMoney

  1. Dial *456# on your Safaricom MPESA number.
  2. Select MPESA
  3. SELECT MPESA products
  4. Select MPESA Tuma Popote
  5. Enter the phone number of the recipient
  6. Enter the amount you want to send. (Has to be more than Ksh 100 so at least Ksh 101)
  7. Wait for the STK authentication to pop up and your funds are on the way.

*The transaction fees using this method are comparable to sending funds within MPESA. We will post the comprehensive rates as soon as we get them.

How to send money from AirtelMoney to MPESA

  1. Dial *222*1#
  2. Select Language
  3. Select Send Money
  4. Select destination carrier, either Airtel or MPESA
  5. Enter mobile number
  6. Enter amount
  7. You will get the name of the recipient, if it is correct, authenticate the transaction with your AirtelMoney PIN and you’re done.

The success or failure of this program hinges on MPESA. Yes, they have a lot more customers, one would think this would be an incentive for them to make it a little easier to send money across.

Burying the “MPESA Tuma Popote” option deep in their numerous confusing options is a sure way to turn off all but the most determined or curious customers. But then it isn’t good for their business either. All I’m saying is, it wouldn’t hurt them if they showed a little good will, maybe even made it public, a few ads here and there to show it’s customers how it is done.

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