To all merchants and developers out there who own or have Safaricom Tills and who wish to integrate into Safaricom APIs, this is for you.
If you wish to integrate into MPesa API, you cannot use a Till number alone.
Tills are like small kids or even babies around money. Ideally, people can give babies and small kids any amount of cash they wish, but they do not have the facility to store it themselves. That is done by the parent of the child who has access to an account. For Safaricom Tills, that parent is a shortcode known as the Store Number. It holds the accounts where all the cash paid to a Till is deposited into. It is the shortcode which can access or be accessed by APIs. Tills have no accounts of their own, and don’t have access to any portals, thus you can’t log into the MPesa Org. Portal using Tills. Only the parent Store Number has those. Tills only act as quick facilitators of cash collection for the Store Number and also for organizational purposes.
Note also, there is a 1-to-1 mapping between the Till and the Store Number. One Till can only have one parent Store Number, and one Store Number can only be mapped to 1 Till
So make it a point, when applying for a Till Number, to also request for the Store Number and apply for an Administrator for that Store number, if you ever plan to integrate into APIs in future. That Administrator will be used in the Go Live process on the APIs and also to access the MPesa Org. Portal.
Note, there is also another shortcode above the Store Number known as the Head Office number, or H.O. for short. This is at a “grand-parent” level to the till, and can never be used for APIs, as it is a grand-collection account for the overall parent organization. Money collected by the Store Numbers via their Tills is propagated upwards during settlement processes e.t.c. One H.O. can have multiple Store Numbers under it e.g. those large supermarkets use that hierarchy to map out tills to a parent/main headquarters somewhere in Town, and whatever those guys earn, can be propagated upwards to the headquarters’ H.O. This is most probably owned by those guys who give you the Till numbers, so don’t even bother checking it out.