Airtel Africa and Mastercard have teamed up to create Airtel Money Mastercard virtual card. Thus, giving Airtel’s over 100 million subscribers access to Mastercard’s global network of merchants using Airtel Money.
The statement released by the company explained that the partnership will allow Airtel Money customers who don’t even have bank accounts make payments to any business that accepts the Mastercard card.
Speaking on the partnership, Airtel Africa CEO, Raghunath Mandava, explained that both companies share a passion for driving digital financial transformation in Africa.
“Airtel and Mastercard have a shared passion for digital transformation and making mobile financial services accessible to everyone across the continent. Through our partnership, we will enable over 100 million Airtel Africa customers to make safe mobile money purchases online and in person.”Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa CEO.
Amnah Ajmal, Mastercard’s Middle East and Africa executive vice president for market development also noted that Mastercard is focused on enabling digital transformation in the region.
“Across the MEA region our digital partnerships strategy remains focused on enabling digital transformation for our partners so that their consumers can enjoy seamless access to payments and a superior experience.”Amnah Ajmal, Mastercard Middle East and Africa executive vice president for market development
Airtel Users with Smartphones No Longer Need Banks?
Nigeria has an unbanked population of 60.1 million with 71.3% of the adult population with mobile phones among the excluded. This is according to a recent EFInA Access to Financial Services survey.
The partnership means that Airtel Money users, even those using mobile phones among the unbanked population, will be able to make online payments globally with their Airtel Money Mastercard virtual card.
Also, Airtel Money will allow payments at outlets via Quick Response (QR) codes. Payments will be made from an Airtel mobile phone by scanning the QR code displayed at checkout or by entering a merchant identifier, at any location globally that Mastercard QR is accepted.
At the moment, Airtel has over 100 million mobile phone users across 14 African countries according to Mandava. Mastercard, on its part, has more than one million businesses across Africa that accept Mastercard QR payments.
Airtel Money having access to this large database across Africa gives them an advantage over current players in the market like Paga, PocketMoni, ReadyCash in terms of ease of getting customers.
Also, enabling digital payments without connecting to bank accounts, gives them an edge over bank-owned mobile money platforms like GTMobileMoney, FirstMonie. Users won’t need to connect to any bank before making payment through Mastercard.
Consequently, due to the availability of low-cost smartphones and high-speed GSM networks, online payments will most likely grow rapidly in Africa. This means Airtel Money could lead the provision of digital payment platforms for both banked and unbanked users on the continent.
Airtel Money customers get to benefit from competitive pricing and preferential exchange rates for international payments thanks to Mastercard’s global network of merchants. This is definitely a power move to fasten digital payments transformation in Africa.
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