Google have today formally announced the launch of BebaPay, previously known as Beba. The service, in partnership with Equity Bank, allows Kenyans to pay for transport by tapping their BebaPay card on a reader, in a similar manner to London's Oyster cards. However, instead of dedicated card readers, NFC-enabled Android phones are used by conductors to collect payments.

Commuters are able to sign up for a free BebaPay prepaid card online, after which they can be collected from major bus stops. They can then be topped up from Equity Bank agents or through mobile money.

Each card is tied to the user's phone, allowing them to receive a free SMS receipt after every transaction is made.

Google also announced plans to release a free Android application that would allow person-to-person NFC payments via the BebaPay card, enabling shop owners to bypass the need for expensive cash registers and wasteful physical receipts. It has not yet been made clear when this aspect of the service will be made available, but Google have been contacted for further comment.

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