What to Do When You’ve M-PESA’d the Wrong Person or Till Number

In the digital age, where a simple tap on your smartphone screen can initiate a financial transaction, we’ve all had our share of “oops” moments. M-PESA users in Kenya are no strangers to accidentally sending money to the wrong recipient or till number. While such situations can be distressing, Safaricom has put measures in place to assist users in rectifying these errors and regaining control of their funds. This article delves into the steps you can take when you find yourself in a predicament of sending money to the wrong person or till number.

The Power of Hakikisha

Mistakes are inevitable, but they need not be irreversible. Safaricom’s Hakikisha service emerges as a lifesaver in these moments of uncertainty. Designed for all M-PESA customers, Hakikisha allows you to verify the recipient’s name before confirming a transaction. This feature also extends to agents and till merchants, providing a safety net against erroneous transactions. However, even with Hakikisha, there’s a possibility that mistakes can slip through the cracks. In such cases, you need to be aware of the subsequent steps to rectify the situation.

Steps to Take When the Error Occurs

Step One: Initiating a Wrong Number Reversal

Safaricom offers multiple avenues to initiate a reversal for erroneous transactions. You can leverage the M-PESA app, the MySafaricom app, the Safaricom chatbot Zuri, or even opt for the traditional SMS route.

For SMS requests, send the entire transaction message to 456. Within a short period, you’ll receive a response from “Reversal,” acknowledging the initiation of your request. You can anticipate an update within two hours, keeping you informed about the progress of the reversal.

If you prefer the app approach, ensure that the transaction was conducted through the M-PESA or MySafaricom app. Access the relevant app and follow the instructions to initiate the reversal process.

Dealing with Wrong Till Numbers

The scenario changes slightly when dealing with M-PESA transactions sent to a Safaricom MPESA till number. Reversing such transactions requires a bit more effort. Begin by reaching out to Safaricom’s customer care number 100 and explaining the situation. The next steps are determined by the till number owner’s response.

If the till number owner consents to the reversal, the process will proceed accordingly. However, if they decline, Safaricom will contact you to advise you on the next course of action, which typically involves filing a formal complaint with the police.

Step Two: Escalating the Matter to Authorities

In certain cases, the scenario might escalate beyond a straightforward reversal. When attempts to recover your funds are thwarted, and the recipient refuses to cooperate, you may find yourself contemplating legal action. This is where Section 35 of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act comes into play.

According to this section, failing to reverse an M-PESA payment made in error is deemed an offense. Recipients who withhold the return of mistakenly received funds could face consequences, including a potential two-year jail term, a fine of Kshs. 200,000, or a combination of both penalties.


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