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How to Buy Airtel Kenya Airtime using M-PESA

Did you know that it’s possible to buy Airtel airtime using Safaricom’s M-PESA service? This is a lifesaver in situations where you don’t use Airtel Money or if you can’t find Airtel credit in the shops.

You can buy airtime using one of two options:

  • Using Lipa na M-PESA Pay Bills. Examples include PesaPal’s 220220, iPay’s 510800 and MyAirtime Kenya 215215.
  • Using Tingg’s USSD, app or their online portal.

The major difference between these two options is that depending on the merchant, the Pay Bill option may incur transactional charges from M-PESA while using Tingg carries no charges.

For instance, using PesaPal’s pay bill to buy Ksh100 worth of airtime will incur you a transactional charge of Ksh2.

Let’s take a look at both methods.

1. Buy Airtime using M-PESA Pay Bill

  1. Go to the M-PESA Menu on your phone.
  2. Select the Lipa na M-PESA option, then choose the Pay Bill option.
  3. Select Enter business no. then enter 215215, 220220 or 510800 then press OK.
  4. In the next menu select then enter your Airtel number and press OK when done e.g. 0733333333
  5. Next enter the amount of airtime you want to purchase e.g. 50 and press OK when done.
  6. Enter your M-PESA Pin.
  7. Confirm the transaction by pressing the OK button
  8. Confirm the transaction details again in the Hakikisha page. Should the details be wrong, enter any number or letter to cancel the transaction before the 25 seconds lapse.
  9. Now just wait for the M-PESA transaction SMS on your Safaricom line to confirm the Pay Bill.
  10. As soon as it arrives, you should also receive an SMS on your Airtel line from CHAPCHAP confirming a successful top-up.
    A screenshot showing an airtime top-up SMS from CHAPCHAP.

10. To confirm the top-up, dial *133# or *131# to check your balance.

2. Buy Airtime using Tingg USSD

  1. Dial *369# using the Airtel line you want to top-up.
  2. In the USSD menu, select the Buy Airtime option.
  3. Next, select the My Number option.
  4. Enter the amount of airtime you want to buy.
  5. Select M-PESA as the option to pay with.
  6. Enter the M-PESA number you’ll be paying with. This will be saved for later use.
  7. You will then get a prompt requesting you enter your M-PESA PIN to authorize the payment.
  8. Enter your pin and press OK.
  9. Wait a couple of seconds and you should get an SMS from M-PESA confirming the transaction.
  10. This will be followed by a top-up SMS from Airtel’s CHAPCHAP confirming a successful airtime top-up.
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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is the editor of Kenyan Fix, an informational blog that helps Kenyans with solutions to everyday questions on mobile networks, government services and banking.