Giant teleco Safaricom has introduced a voice interactive M-Pesa to cater for the blind. This is another major innovation that is sure to keep millions of subscribers firmly anchored.

While unveiling the innovation at the Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom Director for Strategy Joseph Ogutu pointed out introduction of this platform is meant to break barriers for visually impaired persons and promote inclusivity.

M-Pesa for the blind only allows balance querying at the moment
M-Pesa for the blind only allows balance querying at the moment

Ogutu made the announcement during a commemoration of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

M-Pesa customers can access this service by dialling 234 from their handsets. They will then have to select option 1 for M-Pesa Services, and finally option 5 for M-Pesa balance. Users will be required to enter their M-Pesa PIN for the balance to be read out.

Since this feature is voice driven, it can work even on feature phones.

The service currently only allows querying for M-Pesa balance. Nonetheless, Mr. Ogutu pointed out that the platform is in its infancy and that they will gradually add other services.

Blind persons have to rely on visually able individuals to help them make M-Pesa transactions. This means that they have to rely on trust because there is no way they could confirm whether the assistant have swindled them or not before the M-Pesa voice interactive platform.

Sharing PINs with those assisting them to make transactions also means that M-Pesa accounts of blind persons are not secure and they can easily be defrauded.

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The platform is certainly limited and has a few rough edges but it is indeed a step in the right direction.

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