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Google withdraws support for BebaPay PSV payments card

Google has discontinued support for the BebaPay public service vehicle (PSV) payments card in the Kenyan market, ending a two-year partnership with Equity Bank which closed abruptly when the lender announced another deal with MasterCard.

In a communication sent to customers, Google stated that “BebaPay card will no longer be active after today (March 15).”

The notice further said that customers with card balances will have to wait until March 28, when the amount will be refunded to their Equity Bank accounts or channelled to mobile money accounts of the number used during their registration.

“We would like to remind you that the BebaPay service will stop running today and your BebaPay card will no longer be active after today. If your card still has a balance, you will receive a refund of the amount after March 28, 2015” read the notice in part.

BebaPay card holders were allowed to transfer their balances to the new Equity prepaid MasterCard at no cost prior to the expiry of the notification.

The notice also stated that www.bebapay.co.ke, BebaPay’s website, would be discontinued from April 1 and customers wishing to check their transaction history should do so before then.

In early 2012 Google partnered with Equity Bank to pilot the use of BebaPay card for cashless payment of bus fare in PSVs.

The card payment system was later launched in April 2013. Google said in an earlier statement that withdrawal from the market was because it was shifting focus from the payments space.

The death of BebaPay card also comes at a time when banks and IT firms are increasingly launching new cash-lite payment systems to tap into the lucrative matatu industry.