Google and Equity Bank launch NFC payments in Kenya

The BebaPay service is now live on buses in Nairobi and a free app enables any Android NFC phone to be used as a card reader. Shops, traders and small businesses will be able to use Google’s BebaPay in the future “to accept payments from customers, without needing expensive tills and cash registers.”

BEBAPAY: Merchants can use Android NFC phones to take payments

Google has teamed up with Equity Bank, the largest bank in East Africa, to launch a payment card which lets users pay for their bus fare via NFC.

With BebaPay, the first payment system of its kind in Kenya, customers can tap or swipe the prepaid card against a card reader when boarding a bus to pay for their journey.

“In time, Equity Bank will roll out BebaPay more widely, beyond the world of transport,” product manager Aneto Okonkwo writes on the Google Africa Blog.

“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.”

Bus passengers can sign up for a card for free at major bus stops like Kencom House, Pipeline and Yaya and can load money onto their card at select Equity Bank agents or by using their mobile phone.


Users can also see a summary of their spending on the BebaPay website and receive a digital SMS receipt each time they complete a transaction using the card.

Joe Mucheru, country manager at Google Kenya said: “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.”

The BebaPay service, first announced in May 2012, is operated by Google Ireland and is currently available on key bus routes through Nairobi such as Riruta, Karen and Jogoo Road.

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