Top 5 payments news stories in Africa this week

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This weeks top 5 stories I have found from various news sights. These stories I felt gave a nice round up of the events that have been happening in the payments industry over the last few weeks.

"Thieves Hack Barnes & Noble Point-of-Sale Terminals at 63 Stores" – Wired.com

A band of thieves compromised credit card readers in 63 Barnes & Noble stores in nine states, prompting the giant bookseller to remove the readers from all of its stores while an investigation is underway.

It's not known how much the hackers got away with in fraudulent transactions, but Barnes & Noble reportedly contacted card issuers at the time to notify them of the breach so that they could be on the lookout for suspicious transactions on customer accounts that were compromised in the breach.

"More to African Mobile Payments than M-Pesa" – Blogs.wsj.com

Kenya's M-Pesa seems to be everybody's favorite example of mobile cash in action. But, it is far from the only success of its kind in Africa, it has not proved equally popular everywhere it has been launched and it is not immune from technical problems.

The number of unbanked or underbanked people in Africa is estimated at up to 70% according to the World Bank in 2009.

Most of the continent lives in rural areas with little access to banking infrastructure, but the people who send money home are part of a distant urban workforce. What both sides have in common is access to cellphones.

"NCR and Bytes Managed Solutions highlight new ATM technologies at ATMIA" – ITWeb.co.za

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) recently held its 8th annual African ATMs conference and exhibition in Cape Town.

Among the exhibitors was NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), the worldwide leader in ATMs and multi-vendor ATM software, which has an exclusive distribution agreement in South Africa with Bytes Managed Solutions. NCR Corporation showcased a number of innovative technologies. The show included the NCR SelfServ 8 compact financial kiosk, which allows self-service functionality traditionally reserved for bank personnel and is suitable for any indoor location. Also, the NCR SelfServ 22, a compact free-standing ATM ideal for either bank branches or any other interior location, was on display.

"Rwanda Linked to Payment System" – AllAfrica.com

Rwanda was one of the four COMESA member states that went live on the new Regional Payment and Settlement system (REPSS) which will make easier traders with in the 19 member grouping to pay each other during transactions.

The REPSS is aimed at improving trade among member states by making it easier and safer to transfer money from one country to another, one of the bottlenecks that hinder trade in the grouping.

“Rwanda is determined to jump at any opportunity that makes doing business easier for her traders and the REPSS will help improve trade between Rwanda and COMESA members,” said Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Central Bank Governor.

"Cashless Payments Sector in Ethiopia" – AllAfrica.com

Ethiopia appears to be doing something right. One of the world’s five fastest growing economies in 2010, it’s expected to reach 7 percent growth this year and next, and the government hopes for double digit growth in the medium term.

In telecommunications, state-owned Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation dominates mobile, internet and telephone landscapes. ETC has had to outsource some of its services to France Télécom – perhaps signalling the dawn of a less hostile posture, as growth picks up and public expectations change. If this prompts a more liberal approach to areas like electronic payments, it could see Ethiopia’s performance shoot up further.

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