Siri Yangu Limited, a tech firm, has introduced a new application dubbed PrivPay, which allows M-Pesa users to send money without revealing their personal information to the recipient. The feature aims to combat spamming and identity theft incidents that have affected M-Pesa users in the past. With PrivPay, M-Pesa transfer recipients will not have access to the sender’s name and phone number. The application comes in handy, especially for payments to donations and charity. The product manager of Siri Yangu, Sandra Mbuvi, stated that the innovation is timely and will appeal to many people who value data privacy and safety, particularly in mobile money transfers.
However, the service comes at an extra cost, making it less accessible to people who do not value their privacy as much. A transfer of KES 100, for example, will cost KES 13, comprising KES 4 collected by M-Pesa and KES 9 charged by PrivPay. In contrast, a similar transaction is free on the M-Pesa ecosystem.
The rise of data breaches and spamming and scamming practices has increased the demand for data privacy and protection solutions. The PrivPay app is currently only available for M-Pesa users, but Siri Yangu plans to extend the service to Telkom Kenya’s T-Kash and Airtel Money in the future. Once a transaction is successful, both the sender and recipient receive two messages, one from PrivPay and another from M-Pesa. The messages do not disclose the identity of the sender.
Last year, the Kenyan parliament approved a set of regulations that require entities handling personal information as data controllers and data processors to register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC). The legal framework aims to protect people’s data privacy and ensure that organizations handle personal data ethically.