Google announced this week a partnership with Equity Bank in Kenya to offer a Near Field Communication-based prepaid card for bus travelers.

The BebaPay card is available for free to consumers, who can make ticket payments by either swiping the card or tapping it on bus payment terminals, Google says.

Equity Bank will soon "roll out BebaPay more widely, beyond the world of transport," Google says.

Shopkeepers and other small businesses can download a BebaPay app onto NFC-based Android smarthpones, turning them into card readers to accept payments, Aneto Okonkwo, product manager for Google, says in the blog.

Users can load money onto the card through Equity Bank agents or by using mobile money programs, most likely M-Pesa.

"With BebaPay, you'll never again have to worry about carrying change for the bus, or keeping stacks of bulky tickets and receipts in your bag," Okonkwo states in Google's blog. Users of the card receive a text-message receipt to help them track spending on their account. They can use a computer or mobile device to manage expenses online.

U.S. and European companies and investors have viewed Kenya's mobile market as a significant opportunity because of the successful M-Pesa mobile money service and the vast number of unbanked consumers. 

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