Google’s BebaPay is shutting down in Kenya after hapless spell


In April 2013, Google Kenya in conjunction with Equity Bank kenya launched BebaPay.

The problem that BebaPay set out to solve was the unnecessary worries about running out of change amid a bus journey and also misplacement of bus tickets and receipts. One needed to pre-load money onto their BebaPay card, and swipe or tap it on the card reader when boarding a bus to pay for their journey. Also BebaPay used smart cards powered by Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which meant that payments could take place offline. Simple and catchy.

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Unfortunately due to reasons we cant’s independently verify at the moment, BebaPay announced that it was going to cease its operations come March 15th this year. They suffer the same fate that befell Google Trader, which was shut by Google in November 2013. Arguably, the search giant’s attempts at complementing one of the cellphone services it had launched in Uganda and Ghana, an SMS-based marketplace dubbed Google Trader, with a web-based version of its own shut down just after 4 years in operation. BebaPay’s demise seemed to have come earlier than expected.

Below is the full announcement made through BebaPay’s support page.

Dear BebaPay customer

Thank you for your support for the BebaPay service. We would like to inform you that the Bebapay service will be discontinued on March 15th, 2015.

Equity Bank, issuer of the BebaPay Card, is offering you a new Equity prepaid MasterCard® at no cost to replace your BebaPay Card. The new card will allow you to transact at all outlets accepting MasterCard®. To migrate from your BebaPay Card to the Equity prepaid Card, please visit a BebaPay agent with your BebaPay Card and National I.D. before 15th March, 2015.

If you choose not to sign up for the new Equity prepaid MasterCard®, then we encourage you to exhaust your balance on any BebaPay accepting buses before 15th March, 2015 or get a refund after 28th March, 2015.

Kindly take note of the following important dates related to the use of your BebaPay card:

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  • 13th February, 2015: Last date to top up your BebaPay card through an agent
  • 20th February, 2015: Last date to top up your BebaPay card through mobile money
  • 15th March, 2015: Last date that you can pay with your BebaPay card
  • 1st April, 2015: Last date that you can access your BebaPay account online on

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