Safaricom is set to introduce a new feature on Lipa na M-Pesa that will hide customer contact details to prevent misuse of personal information.
In the new development, the transaction message on the vendors side will only display the first and last few digits of a phone number.
“The plan is to hide your number where it will display say the first two or three numbers and the last ones and block out the middle, just the way banks do,” said an executive at Safaricom quoted by Business Daily.
In the current setup where vendors receive the full name and contacts of their customers, there have been complains that the information is traded to advertisers or fraudsters.
According to a report by consultancy firm Ernst and Young, third party companies had obtained customer data from 41 percent of the companies holding the data.
Out of this figure, 53 percent did not seek the customer’s consent before sharing their personal information.
Some companies are said to be passing their client data to industry players, while some forward personal information to the authorities for investigations.
The data is used by third parties for advertising, analysis, sending bulk SMSs and processing transactions.
This is in contravention of the data protection act that restricts the handling and sharing of data received by the government and some private companies.
Safaricom recorded increased cashless transactions in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, with Lipa na M-Pesa merchant tills increasing by 76.8 percent to 301,597 in the year ended March 2021.