We were in Diani, Kwale County, trying to pay for some dresses in a gift shop that did not accept M-PESA payments. We had only two options; to use a debit card or cash, but it kept glitching, and we had no cash at hand
So we stepped outside the resort and found an M-PESA agent; Alas!! There was a new step to withdrawing funds! Before we could get to the bit where we input my password, we had to enter a store number.
What is a Store Number?
The store number was introduced to address the issue of customers using the wrong agent number and potentially losing their money. When a wrong agent number is used, the funds are reflected elsewhere.
The customer then had to get in touch with Safaricom customer service to initiate a reversal of the funds.
How does a store number work? Usually, you would key in the agent number and your password, but now, you have to input the store number and the password. These details will have to match for the withdrawal to be successful.
Importance of The Store Number
Preventing incorrect withdrawals
Customers have previously submitted the incorrect agent number while paying an agent. As a result, the money is reflected on the wrong agent, making it impossible for the customer to access it.
To reverse the payments, the user must contact Safaricom customer service to initiate the reversal process of funds, which can take some time and might not be quick enough in an emergency.
When withdrawing money from the agent outlet, customers and business owners must now enter the agent and store numbers. Before the withdrawal process can be finished, this validates that the store number and agent number match.
More Digital Security for M-PESA Agent Withdrawals
We like this added layer of security; it is like having a two-factor authentication for M-PESA. It supplements the Hakikisha feature, which has a 15-second window to confirm and cancel a transaction.
People with disabilities, particularly those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or nonverbal, will benefit significantly from the store number feature.
The recovery of the M-PESA funds sent to the wrong agent requires immediate communication with Safaricom Customer Care. In most instances, this involves a phone call, which is not the most accessible mode of communication for people with these kinds of disabilities.
Florence is an ICT Access and Equality Fellow for PwDs at KICTANet. She wants you to be mindful of digital accessibility. Are you an a11y?