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Another innovation by VCL Financial Services

…as ‘Patala ka M-pesa’ is launched

Seabata Mahao

Vodacom Lesotho Financial Services (VCLFS) has explored the world of innovation once again; this time through the launch of a new digital service, ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa’ tailored for businesses and organisations to accept M-Pesa payments online.

The new product allows merchants to use the one-stop solution to collect payments, process refunds, set up recurring payment plans, and reconcile transactions, further promoting the shift away from carrying cash and toward going cashless on digital services.  

For customers to purchase goods or pay for services online, they will be requesting services through the business’ website or shopping cart, selecting M-Pesa as their preferred payment option, input mobile number, and receiving a PIN request on their mobile phones. They will then authorise the transaction by providing their 4-digit M-Pesa PIN, and the payment will be executed, debiting the customer’s M-Pesa account and crediting the Merchant.

Speaking at the event of the new product launch, Managing Director of VCL Financial Services, Palesa Mphunyetsane explained that customers will have a smoother payment experience while shopping online. She said the platform is secure and runs on existing M-Pesa’s infrastructure, giving customers and businesses the peace of mind that they are transacting with a reputable service provider.  

“Through ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa’, we are looking to build a link between mobile money market, and retail/e-commerce platforms. This new payment service, which is linked to a mobile wallet, will allow merchants to reconcile transactions more accurately and reliably by digitising payments.

“Prior to integration, interested businesses, both large and small will need to be existing merchants, or register for an M-Pesa business account for the Merchant Account. Once completed, the M-Pesa business team will then kick-start the integration,” Mphunyetsane said.

Meanwhile, the Commercial Manager of VCL Financial Services, Malatola Phothane stated that the plan is for everything to be payable through M-Pesa just like on other payments modes where there are buttons of MasterCard as means of payments.  He also noted that, anybody who provides goods and services to the customers can be a merchant and they can get access to the product.

“Patala Ka M-Pesa needs a business that provides services on the internet so that the customers can pay online through M-Pesa. He continued that the services offered by ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa include, customer to business where a customer is able to go through the businesses’ website then select what they want to buy then pay, the point of sale just like the common point of sales the banks uses.

“The business to business which allows one business to pay another to pay for services of the other company, the business to customer service where there are reversals of transactions or refunds, the transactions’ status query being when a merchant pays a customer but there is a delay of prove of payment then the merchant can just issue the status to the customer and the direct payments where there are recurring payments such as instalments payments that the merchant agree on with the customer,” Phothane said.

During the launch, one of the beneficiaries of the ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa’ initiative, Head of Sponsorship and Stakeholder Management of ‘Maletsunyane Braai Festival, Mariti Mariti highlighted that it has been four years in negotiations with VCL to implement the cashless services for the annual event. He mentioned that they have implemented many ideas until they engage the developers of ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa’ who are Enigma to develop cashless services which allows customers to pay using M-Pesa.

Moreover, Mariti said the product is aimed at changing the world into digital services and for the business like theirs, it is going to allow the customers to  buy digital tickets on the website which they will scan through the application that is already existing.

The product uses a centralised Open API platform for merchants to integrate M-Pesa as a payment service on their online stores or websites. The launch of ‘Patala Ka M-Pesa’ complements other recent initiatives by VCL Financial Services like M-Pesa’s Ntlatse which is an overdraft, International Money Transfers (IMT), and the M-Pesa App all aimed at creating a cashless society and driving a digital economy.

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