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How to Start Mpesa Business in Kenya

Daisy Neema
Daisy Neema Kenyan SMEs

MPesa is a mobile-based money transfer service launched in March 2007 by Safaricom. There are many people starting MPesa business in Kenya. The MPesa business is increasingly becoming popular due to the high number of people requiring to send and receive money, pay for goods and services and transact business.

There are also many people subscribed to Mpesa. MPesa shops are profitable and relatively easy to start and operate. You can decide to operate an MPesa shop as your primary business, or operate it as a part time business.

Read also: How to start a gym business in Kenya.

Daily operations of an MPesa outlet includes depositing cash into accounts, registering new MPesa users, and processing cash withdrawals for customers. This article will show you how to start an Mpesa business. 

What You Need to Know Before Starting an MPesa Business 

There are two categories in which you can operate an MPesa outlet.

1. As an Agent /Aggregator

Operating as an agent is more profitable since you will go through the entire registration process. Safaricom pays MPesa agents directly.

They are responsible for recruiting sub-agents, helping sub-agents meet operation requirements laid out by Safaricom, and managing several tills.

Read also: How to start a movie shop business. 

Requirements for Starting an MPesa Shop 

The following are the requirements for starting an MPesa agent business.

  • You need to register your MPesa business under a registered Limited Company. The company should have been operating for at least six months.  
  • You must have a minimum number of three outlets that are operating under a registered limited company.
  • You need to make an initial deposit float of Ksh 100,000. You must also ensure that you maintain the same amount in all outlets.  
  • Make sure to operate those Mpesa businesses in different counties.
  • You must provide Safaricom with business permits for each of the outlets to get an MPesa line, VAT and tax certificates, police clearance certificates, and a banking license from a reputable financial institution.
  • You will then need to fill in the MPesa agent head office application form and the MPesa agent store application form.

Upon submission of all forms and meeting all requirements, you will be given a till number to use.

2. As a Sub-dealer/ sub-agent

It is affordable to operate as a sub-agent than an aggregator. MPesa sub-agents are the most popular and are distributed all over the country. To operate a sub-agent MPesa business, you need to work under a licensed Safaricom Agent.

It is the work of the agent to provide the sub-agent with a till for transactions. Sub-agents get 80% commission while the agent gets 20% commission sent directly by Safaricom. MPesa sub-agents must maintain Mpesa minimum float of Ksh 30,000.

Read also: How to start a maize milling business.

How MPesa Sub-Agent shops Should Work

  • MPesa agents recruit sub-agents to work under them, but their lines are aggregated (directly registered by Safaricom).
  • The agent needs to provide the sub-agent with a till to carry out MPesa transactions.
  • Sub-agents then need to get store management tills used to manage the float. Sub-agents can get them at KCB bank.

However, many MPesa agents do not follow the due process. The agents fail to register sub-agents with Safaricom. Instead, they recruit them as their employees.

The agents receive earnings on behalf of the sub-agents. They then determine how much to pay them. The agents pay sub-agents between 60%-70% commission, while Safaricom requires them to to pay 80% commission.

Read also: How to start a retail shop in Kenya. 

Disadvantages of Operating MPesa Sub-Agent

  • MPesa agents decide what float they want to maintain per sub-agent store.
  • Sub-agents lose control over the float since the agent manages it.
  • Violation of Safaricom operational requirements by an MPesa agent will have his till and that of the sub agents locked. 

How to Open an MPesa Shop

Being highly profitable, the MPesa business is very competitive. Therefore, you need to come up with excellent strategies to stand out and maximize your profits. It would help if you looked out for the following things.


Since the business is highly competitive, your success or failure will depend on where your shop is located. It will help if your MPesa shop is situated where there is high human traffic.

Robbers and thieves target MPesa businesses. You need to be very careful while dealing with your customers. Make sure you can differentiate between fake and genuine notes while transacting.

Always Have Enough Cash

If you want to have a successful MPesa business, make sure you have enough float in your phone. You can lose many customers when they visit your shop and you do not have enough money. 

Is Mpesa Business Profitable? 

Yes. Starting an Mpesa business in Kenya is a profitable business idea. There are thousands of people making a living from Mpesa business only. M-Pesa agent profit for busy shops is over Ksh 50,000 every month. 

Read also: How to start a cosmetics business in Kenya. 


To run a successful MPesa business, you must stand out amongst your competitors since it is very competitive. You must also be compliant with Safaricom rules and regulations. Failure to do so, your MPesa line will be suspended and your float locked.