Airtel Kenya unveils new online payment system

By O. J. Ratemo in Nairobi, Kenya
Airtel Kenya on Wednesday launched a new online payment system that would see her mobile subscribers use their SIMCARDS to purchase online.
Dubbed PayOnlineInKenya, the new system is in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide and Standard Chartered Bank.
This is touted to be the world’s first virtual card that operates off a wallet and residing on a mobile phone.

It is a single use feature or a one time Shopping Card that provides the consumer with a convenient and secure online shopping experience.

You can make purchases of up to Ksh 35,000

Online transactions via the mobile phone is the next frontier in e-commerce


How it works
Each time an Airtel subscriber is shopping online he or she will be able to request a single use shopping card number.
Airtel’s PayOnlineInKenya service will generate a special 16 digit number that enables the completion of the transaction.
On completion of the transaction, a confirmation message will be sent to the customer’s handset.
The feat marks a big milestone in mobile commerce as it will help consumers overcome the daily challenges in online shopping.

The ultimate aim of this service, I gather is to allow airtel subscribers to make payment across the MasterCard network.
According to Airtel’s estimate over 80 per cent of adult Africans do not have bank accounts.

The mobile technology platform and airtel’s vast consumer penetration combined with the financial structure and regulatory framework provided by Standard Chartered Bank and the global acceptance of MasterCard will ensure that consumers will be able to transact in a reliable, convenient and secure environment.

In Kenya the opportunity for mobile payments has remained unexploited. This coupled with a large global unbanked population with mobile phones makes it an attractive investment.

Global population using mobile phones is expected to grow 70 per cent over the next year to 1.7 billion people by 2012.
True, the opportunity for mobile payments is especially significant in Africa, where there are close to 400 million mobile phone users and an unbanked population of 230 million households.
By 2014, Africa is expected to see 56 per cent mobile penetration.

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