Customers using Lipa na M-Pesa will have more security now that Safaricom has declared that it would begin concealing customers’ full contact details while making payments towards the end of June 2022.
This is in conformity with a model used by banks when providing account numbers, which was implemented in 2019 to preserve user privacy.
Only the initial name and a few digits of the customer’s phone number would be revealed while making payments, according to Safaricom, in an effort to prevent sensitive information from being exploited by criminals.
“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.