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Shopify Mpesa Integration: A Comprehensive Guide

Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that allows businesses to create an online store in Kenya and sell their products to customers worldwide.

One of the key features of Shopify is its built-in payment gateway called Shopify Payments, which can be easily activated.

However, if you prefer to use other payment gateways, you can integrate them into your store by following the provided instructions.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to integrate Mpesa payments into your Shopify store.

What is MPESA and How Does It Work?

M-PESA is a mobile money service that allows users to store, send, and receive money using their mobile phones.

Launched in Kenya in 2007, it has become a huge success story across Africa, particularly for people who don’t have access to traditional banking services.

Here’s how it works:

1. Storing money:

  • You can deposit money into your M-PESA account at authorized agents, typically shops or kiosks, by handing them cash and giving them your phone number.
  • The agent uses their own M-PESA app or device to transfer the equivalent electronic money to your account.
  • You’ll receive an SMS confirmation of the transaction.

2. Sending money:

  • You can send money to other M-PESA users by entering their phone number and the amount you want to send through various channels like the M-PESA app, USSD code, or Safaricom App.
  • You’ll need to enter your PIN for security.
  • The recipient receives the money instantly and is notified via SMS.

3. Receiving money:

  • Anyone can send you money to your M-PESA account, even if they’re not registered users.
  • You’ll receive an SMS notification about the incoming transfer.
  • You can then choose to withdraw the money as cash at an agent, transfer it to your bank account (if linked), or use it for various other services like paying bills, buying airtime, or shopping online.

Additional features:

  • M-PESA offers various other features beyond basic money transfer, such as:
    • Paying bills for utilities, subscriptions, and taxes.
    • Buying goods and services at merchants who accept M-PESA payments.
    • Saving money in a virtual account with interest.
    • Sending money internationally to other countries.

Benefits of M-PESA:

  • Convenience: Access your money anytime, anywhere with your phone.
  • Security: Transactions are PIN-protected and you receive SMS confirmations.
  • Affordability: Fees are relatively low compared to traditional banking services.
  • Accessibility: Reaches even remote areas where traditional banking is limited.

M-PESA is operated by Safaricom in Kenya and Vodacom in other countries.

How to set up a Shopify store in Kenya

Before you can integrate Mpesa payments into your Shopify store, you need to set up a Shopify website.

Setting up a Shopify store in Kenya is quite straightforward and exciting! Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Planning and preparation:

Decide what you’ll sell: Research your market and niche to identify profitable products.

Business name and brand: Choose a catchy name and consider branding elements like logo and colors.

Legal considerations: Register your business and obtain necessary licenses (if applicable).

2. Set up your Shopify store:

  • Go to shopify.com and sign up for a free 14-day trial. Choose a suitable pricing plan based on your needs.
  • Select a theme: Shopify offers free and paid themes for various styles and industries. Customize it to match your brand.
  • Add products: Include detailed descriptions, high-quality photos, and competitive pricing.
  • Shipping and fulfillment: Decide on your shipping methods and how you’ll handle order fulfillment. Consider integrating with local courier services.
  • Payment processing: Set up a payment gateway like Pesapal or PayPal that integrates with M-PESA for Kenyan customers. And that’s what we will show you how to get it right here.

3. Launch and marketing:

Test your store thoroughly: Check functionality, payment processing, and user experience.

Launch your store and promote it: Utilize social media marketing, influencer partnerships, and search engine optimization. Consider offering discounts or promotions for attraction.

Analytics and improvement: Track your store’s performance with Shopify analytics. Refine your marketing strategies based on data and customer feedback.

Setting Up Payment Gateways

To accept Mpesa payments on your Shopify store, you need to integrate a payment gateway that supports Mpesa payments.

Shopify has partnered with several payment gateways in Kenya, including IntaSend, a rapidly growing fintech platform in Kenya.

You can integrate IntaSend payments into your Shopify store by following these steps:

  1. Install the IntaSend Payments app from the Shopify App Store.
  2. Link your Shopify store to your IntaSend account by entering your IntaSend account details.
  3. Add the phone number/account you used to register your IntaSend account, the public or publishable key, and an API token (secret key) to complete the setup.

Once you have completed the setup, you can start accepting Mpesa payments securely on your Shopify store.

Other Shopify Mpesa Integration Methods

There are several methods to integrate Mpesa payments into a Shopify store.

One way is to use IntaSend, a fintech platform in Kenya that supports Mpesa payments.

To integrate IntaSend payments into a Shopify store, merchants can install the IntaSend Payments app from the Shopify App Store, link their Shopify store to their IntaSend account by entering their IntaSend account details, and add the phone number/account used to register their IntaSend account, the public or publishable key, and an API token (secret key) to complete the setup.

Another payment gateway that supports Mpesa payments is Pesapal. To set up Pesapal Payments App on Shopify, merchants need to create a Pesapal Business account, install the Pesapal Payments App from the Shopify App Store, and fill in the Shop Details Form with the consumer key and secret from their Pesapal Business account.

Shopify merchants can also contact Mpesa payment providers directly to inquire about using their services.

However, as they are third-party and completely external to Shopify, Shopify cannot assist with setting it up.

Can you offer LIPA NA MPESA on your Shopify Store in Kenya?

Absolutely! If you are targeting Kenyan audience with your Shopify store, by all means, have a LIPA NA MPESA as a payment option.

All you have to do is set up a Lipa Na M-PESA Business Till, which is an enhancement of the existing Lipa Na M-PESA Buy Goods till that enables business owners to collect payments on the till and receive notifications when customers make payments to the till.

To set up a Lipa Na M-PESA Business Till, merchants need to download the M-PESA Business App from Google Play store or iPhone App Store, activate their till via the app or *234#, and change their store secret PIN number by dialing *234# and selecting Account.

How to apply for lipa na m-pesa solutions for businesses

To apply for Lipa Na M-PESA solutions for businesses, you can use the Lipa Na M-PESA Application Portal provided by Safaricom.

The portal enables businesses and individuals to apply for M-PESA solutions to collect and disburse funds.

Here are the steps to apply for a Lipa Na M-PESA Business Till:

  1. Visit the Lipa Na M-PESA Application Portal at m-pesaforbusiness.co.ke and complete the application.
  2. Choose the M-PESA Business Till (Buy Goods Till) option based on your business model (individual, sole-proprietorship, or limited liability company).
  3. Provide the required documents, which may include a recent CR12, certificate of incorporation, annual returns, bank details, and a resolution letter signed by directors (for an LLC).
  4. Once the application is submitted, you will receive a notification with the till number and store number via SMS.
  5. Download the Lipa Na M-PESA sticker from the portal.

After receiving the till number and store number, you can activate the business by dialing *234# on your Safaricom phone, choosing the M-PESA Business Till option, inputting the store number, accepting the terms and conditions, and submitting the application.

Upon completion, the business will immediately start receiving payments.

Additionally, the Lipa Na M-PESA Application Portal provides access to other M-PESA solutions, such as the Paybill service, Bulk Payment (B2C) service, Business One Account, Pochi La Biashara, Business to Business (B2B) Payments, and more.

For a seamless application process and to access the required documents, you can visit the official Lipa Na M-PESA Application Portal at m-pesaforbusiness.co.ke.

Accepting Card Payments

In addition to Mpesa, it’s essential to offer card payments as a payment option on your Shopify store.

Accepting card payments provides a secure and widely accepted method that appeals to more customers.

Shopify supports various card payment processors, ensuring seamless transactions and secure payment processing for your customers.

Understanding the Checkout Process

When a customer places an order on your Shopify store, they are directed to the checkout page to complete the payment process.

The checkout process involves entering their shipping and billing information, selecting a payment method, and confirming the order.

If you integrate Mpesa payments into your Shopify store, you are providing a convenient and familiar payment method for your customers, resulting in higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

MPESA Transaction Fees

Mpesa transaction fees vary depending on the amount of transaction and the transaction type.

For example, in Kenya, for amounts between Ksh1 and Ksh49, the charge could be as low as FREE.

The cost to withdraw money from an Mpesa agent is a maximum of 20% of the transaction amount and 0.

The lowest transfer charge is 0,16% to a registered user for 70,000 KSHs.

The Mpesa sending charges depend on the amount of money being transferred and whether the user is registered or not.

Transaction charges vary from 66% to 0,6% according to users and amounts.

The maximum account balance for Mpesa is Kshs.500,000, and the maximum daily transaction value is Kshs.500,000.

The maximum amount per transaction is Kshs.250,000.

The minimum amount you can withdraw at an M-PESA Agent is Kshs.50.

Conclusion

Integrating Mpesa payments into your Shopify store can help you attract and cater to customers who prefer using Mpesa as their payment method.

Offering Mpesa as a payment option provides a convenient and familiar payment method for your customers, resulting in higher conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

In addition to Mpesa, it’s essential to offer card payments as a payment option on your Shopify store.

Accepting card payments is a must if you want to provide a secure and convenient payment method that appeals to a larger customer base.

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