Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Google Inc. launched a near field communication (NFC) -enabled prepaid transit card in the African nation of Kenya. The BebaPay card, marketed by Top Image, which also markets Safaricom's M-Pesa mobile payments solution in Africa, is for use on Kenya's bus system. According to the BebaPay website, the cards can only currently be used on Citi Hoppa buses in Nairobi, the capital city of the East African state.
According to an April 30, 2013, post on the Google Africa Blog, Google partnered with the largest bank in East Africa, Equity Bank, for the card. Users purchase the BebaPay card from major mass transit hubs in Kenya and reload the cards at Equity Bank branches and agent locations. The maximum load value on the cards is 10,000 Kenyan shillings (about $120).
Bus operators accept BebaPay fare payments on smart phones. The BebaPay app, downloadable from the Android app store, turns phones into NFC-enabled card readers. The transit users receive fare receipts via short message service text messages. "In time, Equity Bank will roll out BebaPay more widely, beyond the world of transport," said Aneto Okonkwo, Google's Product Manager in Kenya.
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