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Customers making payments through Lipa na M-Pesa will now have a security assurance after Safaricom announced that it will start hiding their full details when making payments at the end of June 2022.

This is in accordance with the data protection law enacted in 2019 to protect user privacy, a model used by banks when sending account numbers.

Safaricom says only the first name and a few digits of the customer’s phone numbers shall be displayed while making payments, in a bid to curb the trading of personal information to fraudsters.

“At the end of June, phone numbers and full names of subscribers making transactions will no longer be relayed to partners,” Safaricom told Business Daily.

“Only the first name will be passed along and the phone number of the subscriber making the transaction will be masked (obfuscated). For example, if a person named John Doe with a phone number +254(redacted) makes a payment the only data that will be passed along is [John, +2547XXXXX654].”

Customers/subscribers using the Lipa na M-Pesa platform leave their numbers and names to the respective merchants owning the till numbers.

This has posed a high security risk as merchants are said to use the numbers to send unsolicited advertising through text messages, or even sold to third parties.

The move comes amid revelations that more than a fifth of Kenyan companies shared customers’ financial and personal information without consent.

41 percent of firms transferred client data to third-party service providers while more than 53 percent of these companies or 21.7 percent of firms did not seek the approval of their customers, according to a survey by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY).



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