Buying airtime using Mula’s android app is convenient and quite straightforward. However, there are situations where you may not be able access internet in which case you can’t use the app to buy airtime.
Also there’s is the possibility that you’re not using an android device in which case you can’t use the app. Fortunately, Mula (now Tingg) provides a USSD service that should take care of this kind of scenarios.
Remember as I pointed out in the review using Mula to buy airtime is free for all amounts and you can buy airtime across all networks (Safaricom, Airtel & Telkom). This way you don’t incur any transactional charges from M-PESA as it the case now when buying airtime using PayBills.
The payment options currently available on USSD are M-PESA, Airtel Money and Equitel though plans are underway to roll T-Kash into the service.
Let’s see how we can use it to buy airtime for our own numbers or those of others.
1. Buy Airtime For Your Own Number
Let’s start with buying airtime for the number you’ll be dialling with. In this example, I’ll be buying Airtel airtime using M-PESA.
1. Dial the following code: *369*amount#. Replace amount with the amount of airtime you wish to buy.
For instance, if you want to buy Ksh.20 airtime, just dial *369*20#.
|Dial Code and Amount|
2. You’ll be prompted to select the payment option to use. Select M-PESA or any other payment option that’s available.
3. Next you’ll be prompted to enter the Safaricom number whose M-PESA you’ll be buying the airtime with.
|Number to pay with|
4. You will then receive this notification alerting you that the request has been sent.
5. On your phone with the Safaricom number you should almost immediately get a prompt from Sim Toolkit/Application requesting you to validate the payment.
Enter your M-PESA PIN to authorize the payment.
|Enter your PIN|
4. Now wait a couple of seconds and you should get an SMS from M-PESA confirming the transaction.
|M-PESA Transaction SMS|
5. This will be followed by a top-up SMS (from Chapchap on Airtel) on the line you’ve bought the airtime for.
|Top up SMS from ChapChap|
6. The last SMS comes from Mula confirming the successful top up.
2. Buy Airtime For Another Number
Recall that Tingg is not just for buying airtime but also paying bills. Therefore, this is the slightly longer route which starts from the main menu that provides other payment options in addition to buying airtime.
As with the previous method, this will work on all networks. For this example, I’ll be buying Telkom airtime using M-PESA.
1. Dial *369# on our phone.
2. Enter 2 to select the Buy Airtime option.
|Select Buy Airtime|
3. Enter 1 if it’s your own number (the one you’re dialling with) after which you’ll carry on with the same steps outlined in the previous section.
For a different number enter 3 to provide Tingg with the number to buy airtime for.
|Enter Number Manually|
4. Select the mobile network belonging to the recipient’s number.
|Select Recipient’s Network|
5. Next enter the recipient’s number that matches with the selected network.
6. Enter the amount of airtime to buy.
7. Select the Payment Option to use.
Enter 1 for M-PESA (this will use the Safaricom number you’ve dialled with or the one already linked to your Tingg account). To use a different M-PESA number select Edit then provide that number.
8. You will get this notification alerting you that the request has been sent.
9. On your phone with the Safaricom number you should almost immediately get a prompt from Sim Toolkit/Application requesting you to validate the payment. Enter your M-PESA PIN to authorize the payment.
10. Wait a couple of seconds and you should get an SMS from M-PESA confirming the transaction.
11. This will be followed by a top-up SMS (from e-jaze on Telkom) on the line you’ve bought the airtime for.
12. The last SMS comes from Mula confirming the successful top up.
So that wraps it on how to buy airtime using Mula’s *369# USSD service. As you can tell, using USSD is not as quick as buying airtime with the Mula app which takes care of most of the prompts you’re asked here.
Still it gets the worked done but if you’re not satisfied and can’t still use the app, you’ve the third option of buying airtime from the Mula website which provides an experience closer to that that of the app.