TRANSACTION COSTS

More firms waive fees to cushion users over coronavirus

Across the globe, several tech firms in different sectors have opted to slash charges

In Summary

• Usiku Games has waived its Sh10 gaming fee on its mobile app games in a bid to encourage the push for social distancing

• Mobile money platforms like M-Pesa and Airtel Money, as well as banks, have waived some transaction fees. 

An employee assists a customer to set-up M-Pesa money transfer service on his handset inside a mobile phone care centre in Nairobi, May 11, 2016. /REUTERS
An employee assists a customer to set-up M-Pesa money transfer service on his handset inside a mobile phone care centre in Nairobi, May 11, 2016. /REUTERS

Mobile games company, Usiku Games has waived the Sh10 gaming fee on its mobile app to encourage social distancing as the country deals with Covid-19.

The firm’s chief executive Jay Shapiro said the move will be in effect until further notice.

“As a part of our commitment to the idea of #GamingForGood, Usiku Games are making all of our mobile games available for free to the public in Kenya during this Covid-19 outbreak. For one to access these games, one is usually expected to buy 1000 digital coins (U-coins) which translate to Sh10,” he said.

 

Shapiro added that with the closure of schools and offices, Kenyans will have alternative entertainment away from social gatherings and games that require physical engagements.

“We know that many families are going to be stuck indoors for a while, with children home from school and offices closed. That will almost certainly lead to boredom and anxiety,” he said.

Across the globe, several tech firms in different sectors have opted to waive fees to give relief to consumers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the US and Canada Uber Eats announced it will be waiving delivery fees for independent restaurants.

Uber Eats, the food delivery arm of the popular ride-hailing company Uber, is following other similar companies like GrubHub and Postmates, which also decided to do away with delivery fees.

Since President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the country to minimise contact with cash to check the spread of the virus, mobile money platforms like M-Pesa and Airtel Money, as well as banks, have cut some transaction fees.

“These measures were announced on 18 March 2020 by the Central Bank of Kenya and banks have already begun adjusting their systems and working to deliver on the commitment with an aim to be 100 per cent compliant as soon as possible,” Kenya Bankers Association chairman Joshua Oigara said.