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First NZ digital cash service launched

Media Release
Embargoed until 6am, Monday 27th November, 2006

Traditional wallets can retire as first NZ digital cash service launches

From today, Kiwis splitting restaurant bills, sharing petrol costs, paying the babysitter and buying low value goods online can do so using their mobile phone or the internet with a new digital cash service called ‘pago’.

pago allows New Zealand bank account holders to send cash via a digital wallet to another person. The service is ideal for low value transactions, up to a total of $200 a day. To make a payment the pago wallet holder only needs to know the mobile number, email address or pago name of the person they are paying.

The service is the first of its kind in this country, allowing real-time payments to be made person to person for a whole range of uses. A key benefit of pago is that both people know the money has been transferred as soon as they receive a confirmation message (text or email) from pago.

pago’s General Manager, Marcus Robins, says there’s nothing like pago in New Zealand.

“It's a unique form of payment. pago has the potential to transform the way New Zealanders pay each other for small value items online and while they are out and about – in much the same way EFTPOS changed the way people paid for retail goods and services in-store.”

To register for pago, people simply visit the internet site Once signed up, a pago wallet is created where people store their money. To activate the wallet and make it easy to top up a wallet, a link is established to the wallet holder’s bank account.

• Once the pago wallet is activated, people can make payments from it using text on their mobile phone or through pago’s website. Making a payment is simple and is just like using cash.
• If the person being paid already has a pago wallet, the money is transferred immediately.
• If they’re not registered, the payment is held for 7 days so the recipient has time either to create a pago wallet themselves to receive the transaction, or to direct it to a bank account of their choice.
“The beauty of pago is that it’s using technology many Kiwis are very familiar with”, says Marcus Robins. “Most people have mobile phones with text capabilities, and many have access to the internet.
People are increasingly reliant on this technology to interact with each other, so they should be able to send cash or settle debts this way too.”

The concept has grabbed the attention of Trade Me which has backed pago as one of its recommended methods of paying for goods sold on its site.

“We’ve been in contact with pago since they’ve began developing the service,” says Trade Me general manager Sam Morgan.

“This has allowed us to give them some feedback about the design to help ensure it would work for Trade Me members. The cool part for us is the way it lets sellers know immediately when they have been paid, which consequently lets buyers receive their goods more quickly.”

“At just 30 cents a transaction we think the pago fees are pretty reasonable too,” said Mr Morgan.

A trial of pago friends and family took place last week to ensure the service worked as planned. Mr Robins said the trial provided valuable feedback and fine-tuning of the pago service prior to launch.

“We watched the new pago community grow every day during the trial. It was exciting to see the volume of transactions build, how people experimented with pago and then told others about it.”

[d1]Marcus Robins says the support of Trade Me will give the service a huge boost. The next logical step is to take it beyond person to person payments to the merchant community.

“We’re already in discussions with selected merchants about accepting pago as a form of payment for low value items, and we’re getting a good reception. We know the service has particular appeal to the youth market because they’re savvy internet and mobile users, but we think it’s a great solution for anyone who communicates through these mediums.”

* pago transactions cost 30 cents each, in addition to any text messaging fees charged by your telecommunications provider.


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