How Mpesa Agency Business Operates | Mobile Money Transfer


How Mpesa Agency Business Operates

Safaricom’s Mpesa has no doubt become an inevitable part of our lives today from sending and receiving money,doing bank transactions,paying rent(Lipa Kodi),school fees(Lipa Karo) and shopping(Lipa Na Mpesa). Strange thing though for those that have never been involved in the business have no clue on how it operates in the back end. The Mpesa ecosystem operates in a hierarchy structure from a higher level(bank) to lower tier level of agents and sub agents.Most clients interact with the Mpesa system at the sub-agent level i.e. where you do your cash deposits or withdrawals.For the purpose of this article,we will focus on the sub agents.The numerous Mpesa shops located all across Kenya are mostly sub-agents meaning they operate under a principal agents(another agent but at a higher level). Principal agents are multiple and distinct individual companies which take on the task of managing  multiple sub-agents under them.Back to sub-agents,to understand them better we need to understand their role which include:- Phones and Tablets you can get with your Safaricom Bonga Points In 2016

  • Receiving deposits from customers
  • Offerings Withdrawals(give cash) to customers
  • Registration of new customers

Acquiring an Mpesa Agent Line (Till)

For you to run an Mpesa Business you will have to be allocated a till with a unique Agent number. The Mpesa Agent Till operates or runs on a different type of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module Card) which is customized for the above functions of an agent though can also be used for other Safaricom services e.g. Calls and SMS. To acquire an Mpesa till, there are 2 options:-

Applying directly via Safaricom-These involves meeting all the set requirements for being an agent as stipulated by Safaricom. The requirements are available here . This option is suitable if you intend to operate Mpesa on a large scale mode e.g. operating multiple tills . The terms for individuals willing to setup Mpesa maybe as an additional business to an existing one or as a small operation is normally very stringent.

Applying via Principal Agent -this is the easier option of setting up an Mpesa business. It allows one to setup an Mpesa outlet faster and with fewer requirements than the first option. This option involves approaching a principal (an agent who already owns and manages Mpesa outlets) i.e. his company is registered and recognized by Safaricom as an Mpesa Agent. A principal manages several sub-agents under his company which might be his/her own outlets or subletting. Basically what the principal will be doing is he will be sub-letting you one of his agent tills or will apply for a new till from Safaricom on your behalf. This will normally involve making an agreement-formal or informal. The main thing about this agreement is normally how you will share the commissions typically ranges between 20-30% for non aggregated lines and 20:80 on aggregated line model. Sometimes you also get to be asked for ‘goodwill’,not allowed by Safaricom but it exists anyway.The principal will also seek to know details about the new outlet e.g. where you intend to locate the till(actually asked to ascertain if he is giving you to a profitable area,poor locations will attract low commissions which isnt good for both of you) Once the principal  feels secure about your intended new outlet, an Mpesa Supervisor ( Safaricom staff who monitors and evaluates operations of Mpesa Agents) evaluates the new outlet and might give a green or red light depending on whether you meet their criteria for new outlets. Once approved you will need to invest in e-float (money on your Mpesa phone for deposits) and liquid cash for withdrawals, brand your outlets according to Mpesa guidelines and probably some training in AML/KYC policies.Using this system their actually exists two types of tills.The aggregated Mpesa till and the non-aggregated tills which come with different benefits but to be safe and sure with  your Mpesa investment , it is better to go for an aggregated till(Read here on why you should get an aggregated line)
Mpesa Daily Operations.
As an agent, you get to do two major transactions i.e. deposit taking and client withdrawals with both will affect your e-float (phone float) or liquid cash. Let’s start by first explaining these two types of transactions:-
Mpesa Withdrawal-this transaction happens when a customer has e-money on his/her phone and wants to exchange it with liquid cash. This transaction involves the user sending(withdrawing) that value to your agent till via the Withdraw cash option in his phone Mpesa menu. This transaction increases your e-float value but reduces your cash value.
Mpesa Deposit-is the opposite of a withdrawal and it’s when someone’s one has liquid cash and wants to have e-float on his phone. This type of transaction enables Mpesa customers to send money to different accounts, pay for services, buy goods, airtime and other Mpesa based services.

A simple table below explains how they are affected

Transaction Type    
Withdrawal Deposit E-float balance Liquid Cash Balance
50,000 50,000
5,000 55,000 45,000
2,000 53,000 47,000
1500 54,500 45,500
10,000 64,500 35,500

From the table above, let’s assume you started your Mpesa business with Ksh 50,000 in e-float and Ksh 50,000 in liquid cash. You will notice that a customer withdrawal will increase your e-float value and reduce your liquid cash by the equivalent value. The opposite happens when you make a deposit for a customer. Well, now how I do get to make money there? When a customer performs a withdrawal, he’s is charged a withdrawal fee depending on the amount he/she withdraws. The higher the value the higher the fee charged. It is from this fees that your commissions from.

We don’t live in a perfect world, and once in a while you will run into situations like having excess e-float or liquid cash. This occurs when you are getting too many transactions of the same type without offsetting transactions on the other side e.g. you get many deposits without offsetting withdrawals, you’ll end up in a situation where you can’t take any more deposits because your e-float is diminished. You will need to deposit money into your principal’s account for exchange of e-float or can deposit cash via another agent. This process of creating a balance between your e-float and cash balances is referred to as Float management. Most banks offer float management services for Mpesa agents who might wish to exchange their excess cash or e-float.

How Do Mpesa Agents Make Money>

All Mpesa transactions attract different rates of commissions i.e. will greatly depend on the volume and value of transactions you perform throughout the month. Invest adequate funds in e-float and liquid cash,low funds might hurt your agent commissions.

If you have any inquiries regarding M-pesa we will be glad to help.Leave a comment below.

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  • Gen Kago

    How do i deal with a hostile super agent who keeps locking me out of my account to force me to increase float.

  • Mpesa lines should be given free as recommended by Safaricom but unfortunately that does not happen so anything you pay will be what you have agreed on with the principal. Float will depend on your shop location but its advisable to have sufficient float so that you don’t turn away clients.100K should be sufficient for a start.

  • abisai


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  • Gitije Martin

    I would kindly like to know how to deal with an agent who has frozen my line with float inside and the argument is, it was inactive which is not true. Kindly help

  • As much as agents tend to be given priority when it comes to requests,it is also good to be informed on issues that can be solved without having to call customer care in the first place , having attendants having correct agent primary assistants IDs and other security credentials . Using short codes to access services etc

  • william

    let customer care be fast to agents calls and take seriuos our requests because we are the one on the ground

  • AB Kwena

    Kindly give an example of how commissions are earned,for maybe deposits or withdrawals,how do I increase my commissions,do I get commission for every transaction done for example sim replacements?

  • Mohamed

    what is the commision in percentage for transaction of about 70,000.00

  • Read the latest article on Mpesa on BiasharaPoint for why you should have aggregated mpesa line for your business.Informative read there.

  • Hello Victor,
    Having sufficient e-float is good for your commissions given that you will have enough money for handling deposits and withdrawals and you wont have to turn away clients.Commissions are graduated and any given withdrawal or deposit transaction will attract a defined commission corresponding with that range.Commissions are cumulative and you can always get real time updates on your accumulated commissions from your principal any time,or day of the month.

  • Victor Omondi

    How does e-float determine the commission an agent gets and is there a standard commission an agent gets for each transaction and does it automatically reflect upon a transaction?

  • Please download our revised agent commissions chart and look through the transaction ranges.
    NOTE:The rates are subject to change without notice.Please also confirm with your principal.
    Thank You.

  • Please confirm with your principal for changes on the commissions for the above services.

  • how much do i earn for sim card replace ment and new registration

  • please send me a break down of comission calculation if most of the transaction is between 100 to 5000

  • peter

    I want to start an mpesa business in kisumu. how can i start

  • Hello Shamim,
    Just contact your principal and request the till relocation.
    He will forward the request to Safaricom on your behalf for approval.

  • Hi, i have an mpesa till but is for different location,i got the till line at a principle agent…,i would love to set the mpesa at my own wish location please help

  • Hi, i have an mpesa till but is for different location,i got the till line at a principle agent…,i would love to set the mpesa at my own wish location please help

  • luisa


    How do i create a super agents in Mpesa? How it works to pay incentive to the Agents?

  • naommweb

    thank you for this information,i would like to know what are the requirements for one to start up an mpesa and all the start up costs,i am eagerly waiting for your response because am interested in opening an mpesa.thank you in advence.

  • george


  • Hello Benny,
    All M-pesa transactions attract a commission to the agent which is paid at the end of the month.
    The commissions are cumulative meaning what you earn will depend on the number and type of transactions
    you did throughout the month.You can always request for a statement from your principal i.e if you are not one
    to check what you have earned at any given point in the month.
    Do you have any more queries,feel free to contact us.
    Best Regards,

  • benny

    please if possible elaborate more on the commissions because to me isn’t understandable.

  • Hello Geoffrey,please follow this link.

  • Geoffrey Ndeda

    Kindly send me a template
    showing how commissions are
    earned from M-pesa deposits
    and withdrawals, I am
    interested in starting the

  • Please follow this link for the latest commission guide

  • Victor

    Hi guys, i am a principal agent and can help you get mpesa lines. If interested, please email me at

  • Wairimu

    I’m interested in starting an mpesa business. Kindly send me a schedule of comissions for deposits and withdrawals.

  • Hello Elizabeth,
    The recommended capital by Safaricom is Ksh100,000 but to be quite honest this largely depends on your location.
    In some locations this capital might be not sufficient especially in high traffic areas but again it will be sufficient in low traffic areas.
    All in all having sufficient cash in your till guarantees good commissions.

  • Hello David,you can only access all the transactions online in real time if you are a super agent.But if you are a sub-agent you can always request for statements from your principal at any given time of the month in .pdf with cumulative commissions and the transactions done.
    Good luck.

  • I am an MPESA agent and I want to follow up all the transactions happening. Where and how can i log in to access all these?


    How much is enough to start an mpesa bussiness

  • Grace

    HI I would like to open a M-pesa kindly advice me on how to go about it and all the neccessary details required .

  • Grace

    Hi I would love to start a m-pesa bussiness kindly advice me how to go about it.

  • need an mpesa line at makimeny market contacts 0727426486

  • Hellen Achieng


    I would like to open an M-pesa, but i don’t know how to go about it, Kindly advice.
    Thank you

  • Hi Shisia,we managed to get you the most recent M-pesa Tariff Guide.Hope it will help you make a more informed decision.
    You can download it here in .pdf.

  • cellestine shisia

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals.

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  • Hello Cosmas,different M-pesa transactions attract different commissions.
    Commissions are organized into ranges but typically the higher the transaction value the higher the commission.
    Typically, M-pesa deposits attract more commissions than withdrawal transactions.
    Your commissions are also dependent on the volume of transactions you perform by end month.

  • Hello Atema,do you own a registered M-pesa agency company?

  • Hi Shaheen,it is advisable you get a Safaricom approved M-pesa agency company.They will apply for an M-pesa agent till on your behalf.
    The company,normally referred to as the principal will help you manage your till making you a sub-agent.In this kind of arrangement,you will split commissions with your principal basically 80:20 basis with you getting 80% of commissions,but this might vary across different principals and the arrangements you have.
    M-pesa is a commission based business,so what you earn will depend on the volume of transactions and the transaction types you do .Each M-pesa transactions earn you different commissions which are accumulated and paid at the beginning of a new month.
    Hope the info. was helpful,feel free to inquire if you need more clarifications.

  • Hi Daniel,where are you located?

  • Shaheen

    Hi i wanted to know how i could start an mpesa business.. kindly give me sumarised details on how i can start the business and how much i can earn with th business

  • cosmas musyoka


    Our chama would like to operate an mpesa outlet in nairobi.

    Kindly send me a brief example of how commisions are earned on withdrawals and deposits.


  • atema


  • atema


  • Who do i approach and how much cost will i incur?

  • Maurice

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals.

  • patrick nyambu

    1.What happens if I don’t invoice Safaricom for commissions?
    2.Do Safaricom roll over the Commissions to working capital in case of delay in invoicing?

  • Irene cherotich

    Kindly send me a template showing how commissions are earned from M-pesa deposits and withdrawals, I am interested in starting the business.

  • Thanks for your inquiry,we are yet to receive the new breakdown on commissions arising from the tariff change.
    If you are operating as a sub-agent,you can contact your principal for the same or contact M-Pesa directly on

  • James Musau

    Hi,kinldy can i have the breakdown of the commissions of the current tariff changes.

  • I would like to thank for the effort you have made in writing this post.I am hoping the same best work from you in the future, i have book marked this site to check new stuff posted by you.

  • M-pesa is a nice business, would like to start one ,have read and understood on how to start.

    Could you please send me a template showing how commissions are earned on withdrawals and deposits?
    Thank you.


    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals.

  • Lucy Nderitu

    Please send me a template showing how commissions are earned on withdrawals and deposits.

  • leonard kemboi

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals.

  • chinis

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals

  • Here are some useful links
    M-Pesa Agents Frequently Asked Questions

  • edwin ndambu

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per each transaction done on both deposit and withdrawals.

  • edwin ndambu

    Please send me a template guide line on how commission is earned as per the number of transactions done on both deposit and withdrawals.

  • simba Fredrick Charo

    i simba fredrick charo wish to start a business as an m-pesa argent,so i need your guidelineS. i live in a remote area DUNGICHA,GANZE KENYA BOX 36