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CashU: what to expect and what to hope for? In the beginning of August, all web-sites specializing in finance, IT and e-commerce spread the news about the so-called "Expansion of Webmoney to the Middle East". The reason of such media turmoil was the signing of the cooperation agreement by Webmoney Transfer and the biggest electronic payment system in the Middle East - CashU.
The official press-release presented that event as the agreement with the "acknowledged leader in the sphere of internet payments in UAE, the Middle East and North-African countries" and as the step towards the integration of Webmoney with other biggest international systems.
So what kind of 'beast' is CashU and was that agreement worth being so thoroughly (though not for a long time) discussed? The official information from the CashU web-site states that CashU is now available in 28 countries around the world. CashU started in 2002 when Maktoob group - the owner of the largest Arab online community - maktoob.com conducted an online poll which revealed that only 13% of users would like to use their credit cards for Internet payments. CashU is also a card but it is a special card - it is prepaid and is valid only for the World Wide Web.
The registration in the system is free, but after using it for a year you would need to prolong your registration - the prolongation costs 1 dollar (if there is not 1 dollar on the account after 1-year period expires the account will be deactivated). Transactions within the network are charged the 2% from the transaction sum, but not less than 0.5 dollar and not more than 10. To recall the payment you would be charged 17 dollars. Money is available for spending as soon as you add funds to your account. The system is fully anonymous.
The users of this system are mostly people aged 15-30 who are fond of computer games and entertainment.
The integration with Webmoney will be carried out on a step-by-step basis.
In the first stage users will be able to add funds to Webmoney purses using CashU cards, and in the near future new features will be introduced and they will be able to transfer webmoney to the partner system and pay any seller in its international merchant database without having to authorize it again. It is all good but how will the users profit from this? Some experts expressed rather a skeptical point of view after failing to find any particular profit in this agreement. If they strive for advanced western services with their opportunities. In the sphere of services and IT they are interested in western services with their opportunities. Some pessimists ground their position by the fact that western users will not be interested in the Middle East and the Maghreb e-market. Though there are some more optimistic opinions: some specialists believe that CashU will get more popular. To support this point of view, Martin Waldenstrom said: "E-currencies have a huge potential in developing markets and it is nice to see understanding from such payment systems as Webmoney. Webmoney is also designed for simplifying the interaction between a seller and a buyer and making the interchange of various means, and commerce on the whole easier, more flexible and faster. In future we want to cooperate also with other leading payment systems, which work in the markets out of our view and prevalence." This is the first blow to the skeptics' point of view - they reproach CashU for being closed and limited to one cultural space. It is already obvious that western managers of this system try to turn the development vector towards greater cosmopolitism. The aspirations of CashU management are similar with the aspirations of their Russian colleagues who also strive to go beyond the borders of the post-soviet space. Peter Darakhvelidze, director of overseas operations at WebMoney Transfer believes that this agreement is an important step just because "the Internet does not have geographical borders. We are always open both to new markets and new possibilities and prospectives. We are glad to be able to share our experience, technologies and opinions with our new partners". Even if exactly this agreement is a bit far from being profitable, even if it is likely to be more profitable to our partners, as a much smaller payment system, we can still call it progress. The demonstration of openness - foreign partners would not reach any agreement with the system, in which activities there is any hint of non-transperancy. That is why the agreement with CashU is indirectly the proof of the reliability and legality of WebMoney Transfer and another step towards the opening of borders in the internet space. Only incorrigible romantics or skeptics, for whom money is something dirty and relatively essential can regard the system as not important to anybody. The people interested in increasing their profits, must love money, and treat it as a substance allotted to them as something resembling intelligence. Everyone that has intelligence (or its resemblance) has strived to be there where it is better and more comfortable. Therefore the fewer borders and barriers there are on Internet, the more freely cash flows will circulate, the more comfortable virtual money supply will feel and the more favourable the possibilities for its increase will be.