MPesa agents commissions increased by nearly a fifth last year to Sh14.6 billion, due to an increase in Mpesa money transfer subscribers.
Mpesa agents contracted by Safaricom received 19.6 per cent additional commissions, though this was reduced earnings from MPesa for the agents bearing in mind it stood at 37.4 per cent in 2015 and 40 per cent a year earlier.
“MPesa revenue grew by 27.2 per cent to Sh41.5 billion, driven by a 19.8 per cent growth in 30-day active MPesa customers to 16.6 million and a 17.5 per cent growth of our MPesa agent footprint to 100,744,” Safaricom said in its annual report.
MPesa agents earned an average commission of Sh12,147 per month last year compared to a monthly average of Sh11,937 in 2015 and Sh10,989 in 2014.
The growth in average monthly earnings shows concerns that increase in the number of agents was likely to dilute their earnings are unfounded.
“The large number of agents in the market is limiting profitability per agent, and driving dis-satisfaction from agents,” Indian consultancy firm MicroSave had said in a research note released in 2014.
The increase in Mpesa subscriber numbers and average transaction has elevated agent earnings. In 2010 Safaricom had 17,653 agents earning a monthly average of Sh35,668, firing the anxieties.
Safaricom Mpesa charges to subscribers are based on each transaction amount.
Safaricom paid out Sh10.7 billion in airtime commission in 2015 up from Sh10.6 billion in 2014, less than a one per cent growth, while voice revenue rose by 3.8 per cent. Majority of MPesa agents also distributor airtime.
Airtime commissions paid out by Safaricom have reduced considerably following broadening of the supply channels.
Subscribers have more option on how to buy airtime. Most subscribers choose to buy airtime from their MPesa account which saves Safaricom from paying agent commissions.
Safaricom’s largest shareholder, Vodafone, has exclusive rights of the mobile money platform, charging Safaricom a fee of five per cent on the combined MPesa revenue and airtime commission savings, ending the previous structure where it applied a fee of 10% on MPesa sales only.