How To Send Airtime From Safaricom To Airtel in 2024

Discover the simplicity of sending airtime from Safaricom to Airtel with our comprehensive guide. Learn through easy steps, expert tips, and visual aids. Keep your connections strong and seamless in Kenya with our helpful tutorial on 'Sending Airtime from Safaricom to Airtel.'

Nov 27, 2023 - 02:05
Feb 12, 2024 - 11:35
How To Send Airtime From Safaricom To Airtel in 2024
How To Send Airtime From Safaricom To Airtel in 2024

In today's fast-paced world, staying connected is more than a convenience—it's a necessity. This truth is especially evident in Kenya, where the mobile phone market has grown and exploded in size and significance. Amidst this booming landscape, two giants stand tall: Safaricom and Airtel. They're not just service providers but lifelines connecting millions of Kenyans and the world.

But here's a scenario many Kenyans face: you're a Safaricom user and must send airtime to someone using Airtel. Maybe it's a family member in a distant county, a friend in need, or even a business associate. Recognizing this need, Safaricom offers several ways for its subscribers to send airtime to Airtel users, ensuring that no one is left disconnected.

In this blog, we're diving deep into the how-to's of this process. Whether through Safaricom's M-Pesa, the innovative Tingg service, or the Sambaza feature, we've got you covered with step-by-step guides. Each method is uniquely tailored to different needs and situations. We'll explore how to make these transfers and the nuances of each service—things like transaction limits, potential charges, and tips for a smooth experience.

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Using M-Pesa to Buy Airtel Airtime

Step-by-Step Guide to Buy Airtel Airtime from Safaricom M-Pesa

In Kenya, M-Pesa is more than a mobile money service; it's a part of daily life. So, it's no surprise that one of the easiest ways to buy Airtel airtime is via M-Pesa. Let's break down this process step by step:

  1. Accessing M-Pesa: Grab your phone and navigate to the M-Pesa menu. This is usually found in the SIM toolkit of your Safaricom line. It's your gateway to many services, including airtime purchases.
  2. Selecting the PayBill Option: Once in the M-Pesa menu, look for the 'Lipa na M-Pesa' option. This feature is designed for making payments and, in this case, for buying airtime.
  3. Entering the Business Number: When prompted for a business number, key in 220 220. This is the PayBill number dedicated to Airtel airtime purchases.
  4. Account Number – Your Airtel Number: The account number is simply the Airtel number you're topping up, formatted as 07xxxxxx______. It's crucial to double-check this to ensure the airtime goes to the right person.
  5. Specifying the Amount: Enter the amount of airtime you wish to buy. This can be any amount if you have sufficient funds in your M-Pesa account.
  6. Finalizing the Transaction: Input your M-Pesa PIN and confirm the transaction. A little caution here – once approved, transactions cannot be reversed.
  7. Confirmation Messages: You'll receive an M-Pesa confirmation message. Simultaneously, the Airtel number will receive a message confirming the receipt of airtime.

Tingg Service for Airtime Purchase

Tingg is another innovative solution from Safaricom, making airtime purchase for Airtel users a breeze. Here's how you can use it:

  1. Dialing the Tingg USSD: Start by dialing *369# from your Safaricom line. This is your direct line to the Tingg service.
  2. Navigating through Tingg: You'll be greeted with a 'Welcome to Tingg' message. From here, select '4', followed by '3', and then choose '2' for Airtel.
  3. Entering Recipient Details: Enter the Airtel phone number and the airtime you desire.
  4. Completing the Purchase: You'll see a prompt to buy the airtime from M-Pesa or modify your selection. Confirm your choice to complete the transaction.

Charges and Tips for a Smooth Transaction

One of the best parts about using M-Pesa and Tingg for airtime purchases is that there are no additional charges. It's straightforward and cost-effective. However, keep these tips in mind for a hassle-free experience:

  • Ensure Sufficient Balance: Ensure your M-Pesa account has enough funds to cover the airtime purchase.
  • Double-Check the Numbers: Always double-check the Airtel number you're sending airtime to. A simple mistake can send the airtime to the wrong person.
  • Be Aware of Transaction Limits: Remember that M-Pesa has transaction limits, so plan your airtime purchase accordingly.
  • Keep Track of Confirmation Messages: Always wait for the confirmation message from M-Pesa and Airtel to ensure the transaction has succeeded.

Sambaza Service from Safaricom

Overview of Sambaza Service

Sambaza is Safaricom's ingenious solution to sharing airtime. It's not just a service; it's a way to stay connected with others. Whether it's a small gesture for a friend or an urgent need for a family member, Sambaza makes it possible. Let's delve into how you can use this service.

How to Sambaza Airtime via SMS and USSD

Sambaza airtime can be transferred either through SMS or USSD. Both methods are efficient, but they cater to different preferences.

Via SMS:
  1. Initiating the SMS: Open a new SMS on your phone.
  2. Composing the Message: Type the amount you wish to Sambaza, followed by a '#,' and then the recipient's number (for example, 50#0731123456).
  3. Sending to 140: Send this composed message to 140. This is the number dedicated to Sambaza services.
  4. Confirmation: You'll receive an SMS confirming the airtime has been successfully transferred.
  1. Dialing the USSD: Start by dialing 140 on your Safaricom line.
  2. Entering Details: Follow the format 140amountrecipient number# (e.g., 140500731123456#).
  3. Confirmation: After pressing the call button, you'll receive an SMS confirming the successful top-up.

Note: It's crucial to have at least KES 20 worth of airtime remaining in your account to use the Sambaza service.

Limitations and Precautions

While Sambaza is a valuable service, it's essential to be aware of its limitations and take necessary precautions:

  • Airtime Range: You can Sambaza between KES 5 and 10,000 worth of airtime.
  • Minimum Balance: Ensure you have a minimum balance of KES 20 in your account before initiating a Sambaza.
  • Recipient Number: Always verify the recipient's number. Once airtime is sent, it cannot be reversed.
  • Frequency of Transfer: Be mindful of how often you use the service, as it could impact your remaining balance.

Transferring Airtime Directly Between Networks

P2P Airtime Transfer Service

Transferring airtime directly between Safaricom and Airtel has been easier with the P2P (Peer-to-Peer) Airtime Transfer Service. This feature is handy for those who frequently need to send airtime across different networks. Here's how to use it:

  1. Accessing the Service: Dial *544# from your Safaricom phone to open the Safaricom menu.
  2. Selecting P2P Option: Look for the "P2P" or "Send Airtime" option and select it.
  3. Choosing Airtel: Select "Send to Airtel" from the subsequent menu options.
  4. Entering Recipient's Number: Input the recipient's Airtel mobile number in the required format (e.g., 073xxxxxxxx).
  5. Specifying Amount: Decide the amount of airtime you wish to send. Ensure your Safaricom account has enough balance to cover the transfer and any possible charges.
  6. Confirming the Transaction: Review all details for accuracy before confirming the transaction.
  7. Receiving Confirmation: A message confirming the successful airtime transfer will be sent to your Safaricom line.

Tips for a Smooth Transaction:

  • Double-check the recipient's Airtel number for accuracy.
  • Be aware of any transfer charges and ensure sufficient balance in your account.

Sharing Airtel Airtime to Safaricom

Airtel users can also share their airtime with Safaricom users. This process is akin to Safaricom's Sambaza but on the Airtel network. Here are the methods:

Method 1: Using USSD

  1. Dial USSD Code: Enter *140# on your Airtel phone.
  2. Enter Details: Specify the amount (10 – 1000 KES) and the recipient's number.
  3. Confirmation: You'll receive a message confirming the transfer.

Method 2: SIM Toolkit

  1. Access Airtel Services: Navigate to your Airtel SIMCard Menu and select 'Airtel Services.'
  2. Select ME2U: Choose 'ME2U' for airtime sharing.
  3. Enter Transfer Details: Input the amount and recipient's phone number.
  4. Confirmation: An SMS will confirm a successful transfer.

Method 3: Using SMS

  1. Send SMS: Compose an SMS in the format '2u [phone number] [amount] [password]' and send it to 5050.
  2. Receive Confirmation: An SMS will confirm the completion of the transfer.

Charges and Confirmation:

  • Airtel charges 3% of the transferred airtime amount.
  • For amounts less than Ksh 40, no charges are incurred.
  • Always confirm with the recipient to ensure they have received the airtime.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Incorrect Transfer: If you accidentally transfer airtime to the wrong number, immediately contact Safaricom or Airtel customer service. However, reversal is only sometimes guaranteed.
  • Service Unavailability: If the transfer service is temporarily unavailable, wait a few minutes and try again.
  • Failed Transaction: In case of a failed transaction, check your balance and the details entered. If the problem persists, contact customer service.

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Navigating airtime transfers between Safaricom and Airtel is critical in today's interconnected world, especially Kenya. Whether for personal or business needs, the ability to seamlessly send airtime across these networks fosters communication and helps maintain essential connections.

Through this guide, we've explored the various methods available, from M-Pesa's convenient PayBill option to Safaricom's Sambaza and Airtel's ME2U services. Each method has steps, but the end goal is always the same - keeping you connected with those who matter most.

Remember, while technology makes these transactions possible, the human element makes them meaningful. So the next time you send airtime to a loved one or a colleague, know that you're doing more than just transferring credit; you're bridging distances and strengthening bonds.

We hope this guide has been informative and helpful. Stay connected, stay informed, and embrace the ease and convenience of mobile technology in Kenya.

Joseph Richard Joseph Richard, a leading contributor to, uses his decade-long expertise in finance, business, and technology to offer clear, reliable guides and analyses. His work aids Kenyans in making informed financial and business decisions, earning him a reputation as a trusted industry authority.