Kenya-based Safaricom said it aims to register all 19 million of its m-Pesa users to a photo identification programme by December, Business Daily reported.

The newspaper, citing comments from the operator, said the rollout and training of “agents and dealers” is ongoing. The company began the process in July in a bid to comply with local laws and reduce fraud on the m-Pesa platform resulting from stolen handsets.

Safaricom said at the time it had distributed 25,000 pre-programmed smartphones to its mobile money agents to verify the identify of customers as part of the move.

These handsets have built in software to enable verification against images taken when the SIM card was purchased and other data held nationally.

Vendors with the devices are also required to take images of all new customers, which will be stored in a database for verification of future transactions. This is in addition to current procedures including recording a new user’s name, ID card number and postal address.

Registering m-Pesa users is part of a drive by the operator to electronically register its total customer base of around 28 million.

“The big win from this process is the photo evidence of the person registering,” Safaricom explained: “This will eliminate use of stolen personal identification documentation to commit fraud.”

Safaricom is yet to reveal the cost of the registration process, added Business Daily.