How to Purchase Airtime from M-PESA to Telkom, Airtel Kenya for Free


Making phone calls is one of the most important things that people do with their phones. Those calls are also paid for, which means that SIM cards have to be topped up with airtime. There are many ways to do this: a customer can buy a scratch card, he or she can top up via mobile money channels, or they can receive the same talk-time via Sambaza from a friend or family member.

However, some section of mobile phone users prefers topping up their lines via mobile money channels. This is easy because it helps them skip the part where they have to go to a shop to purchase airtime. Mobile money is also key because it can be bought for more than one carrier, and this is where the theme of this short story comes in.

READ MORE: Charges for Sending Money from Bank to M-PESA Effective 2023

Buying airtime for another line is sometimes cumbersome, but if you have the right tools, it is fairly straightforward. This is because there are a ton of pay bill numbers that have been put in place for just that: however, picking the one which doesn’t charge you is always a task. Also, some paybill numbers are sometimes hit with delays, which makes them useless because their existence should make a case for urgency.

Considering that the most popular mobile money product in Kenya is M-PESA, it makes sense why many customers choose the service when buying airtime for their numbers, or those belonging to other networks. It is even better if you can do so using a single pay bill number (cross-platform) for the same exercise.

If you are that person, then pay bill 263263 is quite a catch.

Here is how it works:

  • Open your M-PESA app, mySafaricom app or STK menu.
  • Go to pay bill.
  • Enter 263263
  • Enter the recipient’s number as the account number
  • Enter the amount of airtime you want to share
  • Enter your PIN to complete the purchase.

To note, this makes sense when you want to share airtime for Airtel or Telkom Kenya.

For Safaricom, there is no need to do so because you can just buy airtime right away without the need for a pay bill number.

Safaricom has also since introduced airtime purchases when you have an overdraft (Fuliza). This, however, is for Safaricom numbers only, which is where the pay bill number comes in for other networks.

Finally, for airtime under KES 100, there are no transaction charges. Anything above attracts a small transaction fee.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]