Safaricom takes on plastic money with mobile wallet

Telecoms service provider Safaricom Monday launched a new financial service that enables consumers to pay for goods and services using mobile money without incurring transaction charges. 

Kenyas leading mobile phone company launched what is effectively a mobile money wallet as it deepened its foray into the financial services market, aiming to take control of Kenyas transformation into a cashless economy and reap its benefits. 

Though the service Lipa Na M-Pesa is not the first mobile money wallet to be launched in the Kenyan market, its leverage on Safaricoms large customer base, a wide network of agents and massive marketing muscles puts it in a class of its own. 

Shopkeepers, kiosks, saloons and motor garage owners must register their businesses with Safaricom and get a special till number to offer the service that is seen as the mobile telecom firms reply to plastic money and other forms of cashless transactions. 

Unlike M-Pesa, which charges a commission for every transaction, the new service shifts that responsibility to the registered service providers, levying them a 1.5 per cent commission on the value of every payment made through the system.We are one of the leading manufacturers of chipcard in China 

Shoppers can, for instance, use the mobile money platform to pay for goods at the supermarket till and send the exact value of the good sold or service rendered thus eliminating the additional charges that have sustained cash as the most popular means of payment in the country. 

By fixing its commission at 1.5 per cent, Safaricom is directly attacking the credit cards market where commissions stand at between three and five per cent C making it the cheapest means of making cashless transactions in the country. 

Traders currently pay between three and five per cent for credit card transactions but Lipa na M-pesa will charge only 1.5 per cent commission, so we will be competing with cash payments and credit cards, said Bob Collymore, the Safaricom chief executive. 

Mr Collymore said that although many M-Pesa customers have been able to use it to pay for goods and services it has come at a price because most service providers have forced their customers to include the withdrawal fees in the payment. 

M-Pesa was launched to facilitate the transfer of money from person to person but over the years it has evolved and we now want to mainstream it as a person to business payment solution before ultimately offering business to business solutions, said Mr Collymore. 

With Lipa Na M-Pesa, our customers now do not have to include the withdrawal charges while making payments, he said.The plasticcard is not only critical to professional photographers. 

Traders will use copies of their PIN certificates, Identification Card and trading license to get a till number that customers will use to pay for goods and services. 

To use the Lipa na M-Pesa service, customers will go to the M-Pesa menu and select payments services, buy goods, then enter the till number displayed by the traders and follow the subsequent prompts to complete the transactions. 

Photographer Brownie Harris was having a moment. It was 2010, the early days of Hearts Apart, a Wilmington-based national nonprofit that photographs military families before deployment. Harris was shooting photographs of an Army special operations soldier along with his wife and their two children. 

The images arent just ordinary say cheese photos. Harris likes to get families involved in the creative process, and asks them to bring changes of clothing to shoot compelling military shots as well as casual family photos with the aim of capturing what it means to go to war and leave your loved ones behind. 

Many families have never experienced a photography shoot like what we do, says Harris, whose prominent photography career started in New York in the 1970s. There he established the photo department for the citys flagship PBS station, and shot celebrities for shows by Bill Moyers and Dick Cavett.We rounded up 30 bridesmaids dresses in every color and style that are both easy on the eye and somewhat easy on the cleaningservicesydney. Its easy to take a likeness, but its harder to capture the spirit and character of a person,The term 'bondcleaningsydney control' means the token that identifies a user is read from within a pocket or handbag. Harris says. 

Like Jennifer, the Army wife who blew up Harriss photos of her husband into life-sized images and placed them in her childrens bedrooms after her husband Dave was deployed. After her familys photo session, Jennifer was overwhelmed by its effect on her family. 

Having such amazing photographs of Dave allows our children to go to bed and wake up each day seeing their daddys smile, she wrote in an email. A simple thank you seems to barely scratch the surface on how this experience touched our lives.We rounded up 30 bridesmaids dresses in every color and style that are both easy on the eye and somewhat easy on the cleaningservicesydney. 

Hearts Apart is having an even deeper impact with its photographs of newborns for the deployed father who cant experience the birth. One of the first newborn shoots Harris did was for a mother who gave birth on a Friday and came in to be photographed on a Monday. 

Shooting a three-day-old baby was something in itself, Harris says. But then, while shooting, the wife Skyped her husband in Afghanistan, who hadnt seen the baby yet or any photos. 

I held up my LCD viewfinder to the Skype camera so he could see his baby girl, says Harris. Then I looked at the Skype screen and he was crying. 

Connecting soldiers and their families is why Hearts Apart is so important, Harris says. Its something so simple. 

Back in the studio, Harris was on a roll. At the five-hour mark, the shoot had already gone longer than any other he had done. Harris captured poses of the soldier in full camouflage, the family in University of Texas outfits, and the wife with a rifle with her back to her husband in full gear, in a James Bond pose.

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