Local Mobile Payments Service, MiMO Wants To Be PayPal For Africa

If you’ve been looking for a local alternative to PayPal, a yet-to-be-launched mobile payments service called MiMO may just be for you.

Update: MiMO is showing off its mobile and web APIs to developers at the Co-Creation Hub today at an invitation-only cocktail event.

MiMO wants to be your one-stop payment option for your person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, mobile payments, in-store card payments and online transactions. When it launches publicly, the service would also be available via its free iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps, which would allow you to send, request and receive money on the go.

MiMO offers similar features to PayPal, from sending and receiving money online instantly, to making purchases on e-commerce sites and lets you link to any Nigerian bank account, card or mobile wallet.

The company behind the payment service, VANSO is not new to building and enabling such services, having been working on bespoke enterprise solutions for the financial services industry for years.

Leveraging on smartphone technology, VANSO offers fully customizable mobile banking applications with features like bill payments, funds transfer and cheque confirmation to clients such as GTBank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

With its pedigree, you should expect to see lots of online services making MiMO their newest payment option, as Afritickets is amongst its first partners. At the moment, the company is still trying to work out a reasonable transaction fee for all merchants.

I spoke with one of MiMO’s platform developers, Idris Saliu earlier today on the phone and he showed me a demo of the platform which he says is 90% complete and would be ready for launch to the public later this year. While testing its P2P money transfer service, I signed up and verified my email address and mobile number (via SMS using a validation code), and received N2,500 from Idris for use in testing the platform.



Following this, Idris requested that I sent him N800 through the platform, and since I could edit how much to send, I decided to send him N1,000 which he received instantly. However, I noticed that the transaction fee for sending N1,000 was N150 which I thought was outrageous, unless perhaps that’s an error.



According to MiMO, a fee of 1.5% of the value of the transaction is deducted by Webpay, so if my maths isn’t so crude, that should be N15 for sending N1,000 (not N150). Thus, my account balance should have been N1485 and not N1350, as shown above.

Other than that, MiMO is very instant and could potentially be the first company to pose serious competition for PayPal, at least within the African region.

There are other solid options for online transactions offered by MiMO that I’m yet to explore such as linking my bank accounts and sending money to any bank account. Hopefully, there would be a follow-up post about my experience soon.

MiMO is expected to launch in Nigeria later this year and plans to expand to other African countries in the future once it acquires mobile payment licenses in these countries.

Would you use MiMO?

Update: MiMO is showing off its mobile and web APIs to developers at the Co-Creation Hub today at an invitation-only cocktail event.

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