I think that the best way to kickstart a working micropayment infrastructure may lie with mobile phone operators – the billing and tracking infrastructure is in place, and they don’t have the baggage that the credit card issuers do.

Here’s an interesting piece about such a scheme in Kenya.

The ping of a text message has never sounded so sweet. In what is being touted as a world first, Kenya’s biggest mobile operator is allowing subscribers to send cash to other phone users by SMS.

Known as M-Pesa, or mobile money, the service is expected to revolutionise banking in a country where more than 80% of people are excluded from the formal financial sector.

Apart from transferring cash – a service much in demand among urban Kenyans supporting relatives in rural areas – customers of the Safaricom network will be able to keep up to 50,000 shillings (£370) in a “virtual account” on their handsets.