Rwandan electronic transaction provider SIMTEL and South African electronic payment solution specialist iVeri announced on Tuesday last week the successful implementation in Rwanda of the iVeri Voice mobile credit card payment System.

The announcement follows the successful implementation in 2004 of iVeri Link, an internet based card acceptance system, at several major merchant sites in Rwanda, including Hotel Gorillas in Kigali City Centre.

SIMTEL and iVeri are working together to provide internationally recognised, appropriate and highly secure payment systems in Rwanda.

“Enabling the acceptance of international credit cards is a cornerstone of building an electronic payments infrastructure in Rwanda,” says Roger Munyampenda, Director General of SIMTEL.

“International credit cards are the preferred payment instruments for tourists and global business travellers. It is therefore vital to the Rwandan economy to have a trusted card acceptance infrastructure as a service to these visitors.”

The system can already process international MasterCard credit cards and agreements on the other major card brands are currently in the process of finalisation.

“It is a very useful method of payment, we have not got any counterfeit so it is very reliable,” says Mr.Ashraff Muhamed – Hotel Manager (Hotel Gorillas).

Using Mobile phones as a Payments platform provides a sustainable and appropriate solution in situations where infrastructure is limited. Mobile phones are essential to businesses in developing countries. In Rwanda there are 180,400 mobile phone subscribers. This means that about 17 in every thousand Rwandans have a mobile phone. Research in South Africa has found that over 85 percent of small businesses run by black individuals rely solely on a mobile phone for telecommunications.

“We use iVeri link to process payment here. Before this system was introduced payment was cash based but today, tourists are very happy to use their MasterCard and we have not experienced any problem,” says Claire K Umurangamirwa – Customer care (ORTPN).

Now SIMTEL has implemented iVeri Voice in Rwanda. This innovative product allows a business to process international credit cards online using a mobile phone or a tone fixed line phone. The key advantage of this is that it lowers the cost required to provide card acceptance to businesses.

iVeri Voice is also ideally suited to the tourism industry as it can be

used anywhere with a GSM signal. It is therefore now possible, using existing infrastructure, to process an international credit card transaction on Lake Kivu in the North-west or in the volcanoes North of Rwanda.

“The system has boosted our business especially visitors going to the volcanoes to see Mountain Gorillas. They are happy to pay with their MasterCards because they don’t want to spend all the cash on them, since there are a few places that can process their credit cards,” comments Sendegeya Gabriel – (National Tourism Office – ORTPN).

A unique and highly popular feature of the iVeri Voice system is the ability of users to interface with the system in their “mother tongue”.In Rwanda the systems interacts with users in English, French and Kinya-rwanda. The first live internationally authorised transaction in Kinya-rwanda using iVeri Voice was performed by Josiane Dorebaba of CONETAS Motel. “The system is so user friendly, much better than using internet.”

“An important element of what SIMTEL and iVeri are striving to achieve is user acceptance of cutting edge technology,” says Roger Munyampenda, DG of SIMTEL. “If technology is user-friendly then it overcomes acceptance barriers and leads to greater deployment which inevitably benefits everyone.”