NAIROBI, KENYA: Google has launched an NFC-enabled pre-paid card for transit payments in Kenya. The service, dubbed beba, is being rolled out initially in Nairobi. Users need a gmail account to activate the cards, which can be loaded up to a maximum value of $115 from a network of local agents.
Google is using Top Image – the same company that markets Safaricom’s wildly successful M-Pesa – to market the beba cards. Conductors on the bus network in Kenya tap the beba cards on an NFC-enabled mobile phone to process the payment, and the user gets a receipt by SMS. The beba Wesbite offers a full transaction history.
The cards may find a niche as they protect users from random fare hikes by unscrupulous bus conductors who pocket the cash paid on the fare.