A challenge to Geeks and bankers

5 05 2009

It is almost impossible for most people here to buy software. This is because the banks don’t issue credit cards. This means that people can’t buy things online like full versions of virus checkers or legitimate copies of operating systems and apps, and neither can they legally download music. It also means that a Ghanaian (and probably most people in the developing world) who produces an application suitable for the local market can’t sell it.

As a result Ghana is awash with pirated copies of apps and is also awash with viruses. I’m sure there’s a market it here, most of the NGOs want legitimate software and defintely want up to date anti-virus software and many small apps aren’t that expensive.

The mobile phone companies have found ways to transfer money between people without bank accounts, is there a way that technologists and/or bankers could invent a “micro payment” system that would be accepted by everyone from Microsoft or Symantec to SoftTribe or the Legon Uni student with a brilliant app she’s produced at home? It has to be easy to use and not assume the customer has a bank account, although they’ll probably have a mobile phone (and buy credit for it).

Come on people, here’s a way to do good and make money.

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5 responses

5 05 2009
Jason

What about pre-paid credit cards? They (the banks I guess) sell these at retail outlets here in the U.S. (I imagine in Europe as well). I don’t see why they can’t sell them everywhere.

5 05 2009
Anathema

What about PayPal? You don’t need a credit card to use it, and is as valid as electronic payment as it is worldwide (I mean, lots of people have it in Uruguay, and we’re also part of the third-world countries).

Dunno, I don’t buy anything from the Internet (not ’cause I don’t want to, just ’cause I ain’t got $$$).

See ya!

6 05 2009
Tim Little

Didika (a former VSO vol and friend) suggested on Facebook:
“What about someone with a credit card and bank account offering this service for a small commission?”

To which I replied:
“which is what tends to happen if there’s someone around, but it isn’t very convient”

She responded:
“I mean do it properly, like a little transactions agency, maybe a side business at internet cafes”

And I said:
“hmm… interesting. Still faces the barrier of the internet cafe owner getting a card, plus there’s the danger that the card details could be sent to the purchaser. I like it though.”

24 07 2009
how *does* the bumblebee fly, anyway? « Linnettaylor’s Weblog

[…] to all but the richest Ghanaians. Tim Little has covered the credit card issue in his blog: https://timjlittle.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/a-challenge-to-geeks-and-bankers/. He demonstrates why café owners, who deal almost entirely in hardware and software that is only […]

25 07 2009
how the bumblebee flies « Linnettaylor’s Weblog

[…] to all but the richest Ghanaians. Tim Little has covered the credit card issue in his blog: https://timjlittle.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/a-challenge-to-geeks-and-bankers/. He demonstrates why café owners, who deal almost entirely in hardware and software that is only […]

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