How to Buy Airtel Airtime From M-Pesa or Sambaza Credit to Family and Friends

Airtel Kenya is currently ranked the second-largest mobile network operator in Kenya as it boasts of millions of subscribers which only Safaricom supersedes. Many Kenyans have turned to the network for their mobile service needs because it offers a wide range of services that can suit any need. One such service is the popular Sambaza credit offer which it calls ‘Me2U’. More so, the mobile network has made it possible for its subscribers to buy both prepaid airtime and postpaid airtime from M-Pesa which makes it very easy to get airtime anywhere and at any time.

How Does M-Pesa Work?

When M-Pesa was launched in 2007 by Vodafone and Kenya’s largest mobile network operator, Safaricom, the initial concept was for M-Pesa to provide convenient microfinancing to borrowers. However, its services have also gone on to include the paying of bills as well as the purchase of airtime.

However, only those who have dully completed the M-Pesa registration process can have access to the services it offers. To get started all you need to do include:

  1. Go to an M-PESA Agent outlet
  2. Present the agent with a means of identification which could be a Kenyan National ID, Valid Kenyan Passport, Valid Foreign Passport, Kenya Military ID, or a Kenyan Foreigner Certificate
  3. Upon the presentation of the valid ID card, a notification via SMS will be sent to the customer to which will contain a PIN
  4. This PIN will be used to activate M-PESA on the customer’s phone
  5. The M-Pesa customer registration form will then be filled and both the customer and the agent will sign it. After this, the customer will retain a copy of the registration form for his personal use

Buying Airtel Airtime From M-Pesa

With the advancement in technology and the innovations in communication models that are on the rise, Airtel Kenya has been keen to make every possible attempt to provide subscribers adequate services for their money. It hereby provides an array of ways to purchase airtime from the comfort of your home and using M-Pesa is one such way that allows Airtel users to purchase both prepaid airtime and postpaid airtime.

For prepaid Airtel subscribers, once you have a registered M-Pesa account you can easily purchase airtime using the following steps:

  1. Go to the M-pesa Menu
  2. Select Pay Bill
  3. Enter Business No. 220220
  4. Enter Account No. AIRTXXXXXX (Where XXXXXX is your Airtel Mobile number)
  5. Enter the Amount
  6. Enter your M-Pesa PIN then send

Postpaid Airtel users can also use M-Pesa to pay for their airtime after consumption using the following steps:

  1. Go to the M-Pesa Menu
  2. Select Pay Bill
  3. Enter Business No. 220220
  4. Enter Account No. AIRPXXXXXX (Where XXXXXX is your Airtel Mobile number)
  5. Enter the Amount
  6. Enter your M-Pesa PIN then send

Buying airtime for Airtel postpaid users is basically the same steps as with prepaid users but the only difference is that the Airtel user will be debited for airtime he/she has already consumed rather than such person being credited with airtime as done in prepaid purchases.

Other Methods To Buy Airtel Airtime In Kenya

1. Using Airtel Money

  1. Go to the Airtel Money Menu
  2. Select Make payments
  3. Select Pay Bill then Other
  4. Under business name enter pesapal
  5. Enter Amount
  6. Enter your Airtel Money PIN
  7. Under Reference enter AIRTXXXXXX (Where XXXXXX  represents your Airtel Mobile number)

2. By Using Credit or Debit Card

To make use of Visa and MasterCard and other online payment services like Mobile banking, Airtel subscribers can visit the network’s portal using: for both prepaid purchases and postpaid payments.

The Sambaza Airtel Credit Service

To Sambaza credit simply means sharing airtime with others and in Kenya, it’s possible to transfer from Ksh 10 to Ksh 10,000 Kenyan Shillings to family and friends via this method. Although the creation of this method is credited to Safaricom it was quickly adopted by Airtel Kenya with the launch of the ‘ME2U’ package.

This service has a minimum fee of Ksh 1.20 which is paid for by the sender. More so, this Airtel service has gained popularity for its 24 hours availability which comes in handy at times of emergencies.

Ways To Sambaza Airtel Airtime

The Airtel ME2U service can be accessed through 3 ways which are:

1. Using the USSD Code

To use the quick code or shortcode, subscribers should follow the steps outlined below:

  • Open the call dialer on your calling device
  • Enter *140#
  • Enter the amount you wish to send in the dialog box that pops up
  • Enter the phone number of the receiver
  • You will then receive a message of your transaction being proceed
  • Wait a few secs for another message confirming the transaction was successful and it will contain details of the transaction that is, the amount sent and the recipient’s number

2 . Transfering Credit Via SMS

Airtel subscribers also have the option to use an SMS to share credit with their family and friends. The steps to share credit via SMS include the following:

  • Launch the messaging app on your phone
  • Type in “2u (phone number of the receiver) (amount of airtime you want to send) (ME2U PIN)”
  • Then send the message to 5050
  • A message will be sent to confirm the success of the transfer

N.B: The default ME2U PIN is 0000. You can use this or go to SIM Toolkit > Airtel services > ME2U > Change PIN to change it.

See Also: How to Buy Telkom Airtime From M-Pesa and the Paybill Number To Use

3. Using SIM Toolkit 

If you prefer to use the Airtel SIM Toolkit the steps to follow are given below:

  • Open the Airtel SIM Toolkit menu on your phone
  • Then click on the ‘ME2U’ option
  • When you click on that you can choose to change the ME2U PIN if you are a first time user or you can proceed to use the default code, ‘0000’ as it is
  • Then ‘Tuma Airtime’ will appear next, click on it
  • Input the amount of airtime you want to send
  • Move on to type the number of the receiver or select the person’s number via searching contacts on your SIM
  • Select  ‘Okay’ afterward
  • If you have your personalized ME2U PIN, go ahead and enter it, if not, just use the default code, ‘0000’
  • Wait for a few seconds as Airtel will send an SMS notification to confirm the successful completion of the transaction
Tyna G
Tyna G
A digital nomad with a never-ending curiosity and passion for discovering new places, cultures and creative outlets - this author has been writing her way around the globe for many years. Everything from entertainment to biographies, reviews to travel tips, you’ll always find stunning high quality content coming from her


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