Google Kenya & Equity Bank Partner To Launch BebaPay App And NFC Enabled Electronic Payment Card

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Google Kenya and Equity Bank today launched BebaPay, an NFC enabled electronic payment card and app in a move they say will make payments easy and more convenient for consumers and merchants.

According to Dr. James Mwangi, CEO, Equity Bank, says that “The BebaPay card is a first for Kenya and will change the transport industry when it comes to payment. It is a convenient local payment solution that makes it easy to budget and manage one’s expenses on a mobile phone or computer”.

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Kenyans can can sign up for a BebaPay card and top up for free at Equity agents or use mobile money options to top up their cards. BebaPay helps to overcome the problem of using cash and receiving the correct change when paying for public transport on the bus or “matatu”.   is the first payments system of its kind for Kenya.

Joe Mucheru, Google Kenya Country Manager said,“Research showed that technology could help bus operators and passengers to ease the process of ticketing, so we’re pleased that Nairobi commuters can now enjoy the advantages of BebaPay.” Mucheru added,  “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”.

  BebaPay, a first of its kind in the country makes it easy to pay for your bus fare and helps you budget and track your spending.  All you do is swipe your card on the card reader in order to pay. You also get free SMS receipts and the BebaPay website makes it easy to budget and manage your expenses on your mobile or computer.  You can get a BebaPay card for yourself, family members or coworkers.  Bus conductors can use BebaPay on a Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled Android phone to accept payments from BebaPay smart cards. BebaPay smart cards are powered by NFC technology and software from Google,payment can be made with or without internet or power. 

BebaPay will soon be rolled into more towns and beyond the world of transport. The free BebaPay app turns any NFC-enabled Android phone into a card reader so buyers can use BebaPay to pay for their shopping in malls or food in restaurants.

 Lucia Atieno, a daily commuter who has been using BebaPay card for over 6 months, said “I now spend less on bus fares, since I can plan in advance how much money I need for a particular period of time. The conductors never leave with my change, which used to happen a lot if I forgot to as ask for it.  Greatest of all, no more chunks of paper in my handbag in the name of receipts!”  

Equity Bank and Google will be using affordable NFC-enabled Android devices that are available in Kenya and can be used for BebaPay.  Currently BebaPay is only available at key bus stops such as Kencom House. Equity Bank is working on rolling out BebaPay to more locations over time.

This post first appeared here on TechMoran, our Africa Tech media partners. 

  • I keep asking myself “Are Kenyans more innovative than Ugandans?” NFC has been available for a while and haven’t noticed anything creative done with it in Uganda. Instead of waiting for the Mobile Money APIs to be released in order for the Ugandan Developers to unlock a quick and convenience way to make payments locally, we should get our hands dirty, create and innovate on the currently available platforms like NFC. Lets do Partner with Finance Institutions, Hardware makers. Lets Unlock Africa, Lets unlock Uganda.

    • Vincent, see it was easy for Google to do a partnership with Equity Bank — because, well, Google is big! It had to take a big winger like to partner with a bank, because of all players, banks are the slowest to innovate and break new grounds.

      However, i like the fact that the Kenyans are open to different options, not just clinging onto the overly praised Mobile Money (or M-Pesa for that matter)! NFC payment solutions are also being implemented in South Africa too and maybe it’s time to explore different options.