By Andrew Liszewski
Being able to make financial transactions from a cellphone is not a new idea, but at first glance the Biashara Phone looks more like a Photoshop mashup than a real device. However it is real, and Swift Global Kenya is introducing the phone in the hopes it will be adopted by mobile merchants like taxi drivers, who need a secure means to conduct financial transactions but don’t have access to a phone line.
The Siemens built device has a standard cellphone interface on one side, a PIN keypad on the other, and an electronic card swipe on the side that accepts both debit and credit cards. It also includes a wireless printer for providing receipts, has about 50 hours of standby time and can process around 300 transactions before it needs to be recharged. While I’m not sure what the phone or monthly service costs, if it allows taxi drivers to carry less cash and become less of a target for thieves, I’m sure it will be quite popular.