Mobile operator Orange has teamed with BNP Paribas to launch West Africa's first mobile payments and money transfer service in the Ivory Coast.
Customers can use their handsets to deposit and withdraw up to CFA Fr100,000 (around EUR150) to or from their account, transfer money, pay bills and buy call credit for up to CFA Fr10,000.
Orange wireless users can activate an account free of charge and without a minimum deposit.
BNP Paribas, through its Ivory Coast subsidiary BICICI issues and guarantees the electronic money.
Orange says the system guarantees transactions against the risk of theft or fraud and is fully compliant with West African Economic and Monetary Union regulations. All transactions are guaranteed for senders and recipients.
For its release and marketing, the service will draw on rural and urban distribution networks through Orange, BICICI and Belkofinance.
Marc Rennard, international executive director, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, says: "By launching Orange Money today in the Ivory Coast, we are bringing several months of work to a close with a service that will make life easier for our customers by giving them the possibility to easily carry out bank transactions using their mobile, in total simplicity and total security."
Ivory Coast is the first of several countries slated to roll out the service over the next few months, he added.
Fellow mobile operator Vodafone teamed with Kenyan outfit Safaricom to launch a similar system, called M-Pesa in March 2007. By February this year the M-Pesa service had over 1.6 million subscribers with around 200,000 customers still signing up for the service every month.