Building on the success of BebaPay, a NFC payment system launched in Kenya last year, Google and Equity Bank (the largest bank in East Africa) have announced they will expand the scope of the payment system beyond transportation and enable businesses to accept customer payments through BebaPay in the near future.
With mobile phone penetration already deep in the Kenyan market, offering a more cost effective payment solution for merchants based on mobile technology was the logical next step. According to the Google Africa Blog, the BebaPay will dramatically bring down costs.
The free BebaPay app turns any NFC-enabled Android phone into a card reader, which means that shops, traders and small businesses can also use BebaPay to accept payments from customers, without needing expensive tills and cash registers.
“Using NFC is part of Google’s efforts to improve transactions for both businesses and consumers. NFC makes it easier for people to pay for goods and services, and gives merchants extra ways to connect with their customers using technology and the Internet,” says Joe Mucheru, country manager at Google Kenya.
While Google and Equity Bank are successful in the transportation segment, they will encounter stiff opposition in the mobile payments space with the already well-established mobile payment system M-Pesa. If Google and Equity Bank are able to succeed, however, their model could serve for future ventures across Africa.
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