M-pesa’s Open Source API by Mike Pedersen

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, under

mpesa-pesapiSafaricom’s Mobile money transfer Service M-Pesa has received a boost that will see the developers club in Kenya pounce at the opportunity of building various service applications around it. It has been an expectation for a long time that Safaricom would release an API for its M-Pesa service that would open doors for application developers to easily extend the functionality of M-Pesa to their e-commerce applications.

The developing story over the months is that Application Developer Mike Pedersen has built an Open Source M-Pesa API called PesaPi that will allow fellow developers to access the features of Safaricom’s M-Pesa without the need for an official API from the mobile operators. This move will help standardize the e-commerce industry in Kenya with the use of Mobile banking as the default option for making, tracking and receiving payments.

Similar work has been done by few companies in Kenya such as the Pesapal and iPay but the keyword to PesaPi is Open Source. It is very hard to find an open source facility based on a fresh service such as M-pesa that would obviously benefit founders with profits from commercialization of M-pesa based applications but it is clear that Mike Pedersen is a man with an open heart and as such a pioneer of the future of a dense and rich technology industry.

PesaPi in Mike Pedersen’s own words will provide a way to automatically detect when someone, possibly a customer, has made payment to you (the merchant) so that you can confirm payment to the customer and thereby release the product/service you are selling. PesaPi thus helps you to automate that process of detecting payment, confirming receipt and releasing the product. It is an API and not fully fledged e-commerce systems (with a website, a cart and check out system) since there are good e-commerce applications already in place for such functions. And, if you are in a situation where you want to automatically send money to a person, PesaPi cannot help as it is.

M-pesa is a mobile money transfer service that was first launched in Kenya by Mobile Operator Safaricom. The product was developed by Vodafone but initially funded by UK based Department for International Development (DFID). The service has so far grown into few international markets including Tanzania, Afghanistan and South Africa.

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