Mdinar, A Tunisian Mobile Payment & M-Wallet Service

| Jun 17, 2010 | comment Leave a comment

mdinarMdinar is a new mobile payment and m-wallet service that was recently launched in beta in Tunisia through a partnership between the BIAT Bank (Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie), Tunisiana (Mobile phone operator), ENDA (a microfinance institution) and Viamobile (a service provider); powered by Creova’s mobile payment technology.

The Mdinar service offers P2P, top-up, and loan payment services directly from a user’s mobile phone. It also offers multiple features, including the ability to view account balances, history of transactions, and the possibility to save and use the list of people frequently receiving payments from the user. It also allows the user to send a request for money to another person.

Using the service requires a subscription that translates into the opening of a BIAT Light bank account. To open an Mdinar account, the user must have a Tunisian ID card and a Tunisiana mobile line, and they can either register online (option not launched yet) or at any of the affiliate branches that display the Mdinar sign. Registration should be quick and the user’s account is activated immediately. Once registered, the user receives a notification by sms with their PIN.

People receiving money through Mdinar don’t need to have a bank account though; the act of money being sent to them translates into the pre-opening of an account, and it’s their choice when they go to withdraw the money whether they want to go ahead and open that bank account or not.

Deposits or withdrawals to credit or debit the Mdinar account can be done through the branches and ATMs of the BIAT bank network.

The service is obviously tied to BIAT (Tunisia’s largest private bank with around 17% market share) for the banking part of it and Tunisiana (around 50% market share) for the mobile part, which does give it access to a big group of potential users, but also puts some limitation on its adoption.

It’ll be interesting to see how good of a job all the partners do at marketing this to users and businesses, to get people using it between each other, and have businesses offering it as a method of payment, driving more usage and growth in the market.

Up to this point, mobile payment platforms have proved really successful and popular in Africa, so it’ll be worth watching how this project goes in Tunisia to see how well it might do in the North African markets and Arab ones in general.

Update: The service has only been launched in beta so far with the attendees of the last BarCamp Tunisia. The service awaits approval from Central Bank of Tunisia for a wider release.

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