Beeline Lao has signed up with Ezetop, a mobile phone refill/recharge/top-up company which allows credit card or PayPal account holders anywhere to send money direct to a cell phone in many countries.
It’s a straightforward process: sign up with Ezetop with a name and email address, then enter the SIM number for the phone or USB modem – which the system checks for validity. Choose a US dollar amount to send and it will tell you the amount to be received on the phone in local currency.
Next you are taken to the login for the payment process, either VISA, MasterCard or PayPal. This will confirm the dollar amount plus fee. On acceptance of the transaction, the money is immediately sent to the phone, and the subscriber receives an SMS confirming the recharge. If the process fails, the money is refunded.
Convenient for instantly topping up an overseas friend or relative’s phone, it does come at a cost. Commission reduces the value compared to using a local refill card plus exchange rates and payment processor fees may add up to 25%. Apparently this varies depending on the country.
After a few unsuccessful attempts last week and refunds to my PayPal account, I tried it out again today without any problem, sending $5 (the minimum) to a Lao mobile number using PayPal for payment.
This converted to 35,000 kips (40,000 is closer for the current exchange rate around 8,000 to the US dollar). Paypal charged $0.65.
In total it cost $5.65 (about 45,000 kips) to receive a 35,000 kip refill, so although convenient, probably not a service to be used locally except in an emergency or when refill cards are unavailable.
Note that so far this only works for Beeline Lao (ex-Tigo) numbers; these have the format 856 (Laos) 20 (mobile) number 7xxx xxxx.
See more about Lao mobile and internet on our website.