Just came across this via a Facebook advertisement: Roamware, a provider of voice and data roaming, and mobile financial solutions to telecom operators and banks, has launched SocialTopups on Facebook. SocialTopups allows Facebook users in the US to top up mobile pre-paid accounts in India, Mexico and Philippines. In India, they’ve tied up with 12 telecom operators: Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, IDEA, Reliance, Tata cellular, Vodafone, Uninor, S-Tel, Loop Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Tata DoCoMo. Apart from these, they have tie-ups with Iusacell, Movistar and Telcel in Mexico, and Globe Telecom, Smart, Sun Cellular in the Philippines. The idea, it appears, is to allow expatriates to recharge prepaid connections for their family.

Payment Processing & Rates

– Payment Processing: SocialTopups is using Paypal as a payment processor, and accepts payment via credit cards, debit cards, PayPal payments. However, SocialTopups doesn’t allow domestic recharges – a Facebook user from India cannot recharge her prepaid account. According to Roamware’s terms and conditions, top-ups should take place real-time,but they can take up to a day to process.

– Additional Fees: In terms of additional fees, Roamware charges a transaction fee for the service, apart from the regular fees on pre-paid recharges.

– Transaction Limits: A limit has been placed on the number of recharges, to prevent fraud:

– A Sender may only perform a maximum of 10 transactions for an aggregate amount not to exceed USD $100 in a day, where a day is defined as 00:01 GMT – 23:59 GMT.
– A Recipient may only receive a local currency equivalent of maximum USD $100 in a day, where a day is defined as 00:01 GMT – 23:59 GMT.

– Talktime: This is the strange thing. SocialTopups shows ‘Average Local Talk time’ on offer, that is, indicates how much average talking the user will get based on a certain amount of topup. Now this varies based on the telecom operator in question. I tried Vodafone and Airtel:

Perhaps it might be easier for them to indicate how much money is being transferred to the user, but then Roamware has international exchange rates to contend with. As per its Frequently Asked Questions “Our intent to show this amount is only to provide you with an estimate of the value that you are giving to this Recipient. We do not warrant the accuracy of this estimate. You should do your own calculations or contact the Recipient’s mobile operator directly to get a better estimate.”