Safaricom accelerated its drive towards NFC and QR code-based m-Pesa payments with an upgrade to its consumer app, expanding the number of payment methods available to its smartphone users.

In the update to mySafaricom, the operator added the facility to pay using contactless NFC technology at participating retailers in Kenya. It follows the launch of three devices debuting tap payments using m-Pesa in May.

The first run of 1Tap products included a sticker for the back of a smartphone to offer tap pay on handsets: rather than using the internal NFC function found in many devices, it connected using a chip in the sticker itself.

In addition to NFC support, the company added a QR-code bill payment facility to the app. Safaricom is in the process of distributing kits to its network of merchants to support the new payment method.

The new app also provides a number of data and cash management features.

Safaricom strategy director Joseph Ogutu (pictured) said: “In 2016, we introduced the mySafaricom app as a modern and convenient way for smartphone users to interact with our services. This new update brings a range of refinements that will further increase the ease and convenience enjoyed by our customers whenever they interact with our different services.”

The upgrade follows the company’s strategy of incorporating new technology to beef up the security of mobile payments and ease the process for users.

Earlier in December, Safaricom added voice control to its core m-Pesa service and is in the process of rolling out a photo ID system its merchants can use to identify customers.