Kenyan Airtel Money customers will now be able to make online payments globally with their Airtel Money MasterCard virtual card even without bank account.
The Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) card, which is a partnership between Airtel Africa and MasterCard, allows Airtel Money customers to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept MasterCard.
Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer Raghunath Mandava said the partnership will enable its over 100 million African customers make safe mobile money purchases online and in person.
“This partnership is truly revolutionary in our market, giving millions of people better access to the digital and online world,” Mr Mandava said.
Through the platform, Airtel Money customers will also be able to make in-person payments at outlets via Quick Response (QR) codes. This is where payments are made from an Airtel mobile phone by scanning the QR code displayed at checkout or by entering a merchant identifier, at any location worldwide where MasterCard QR is accepted.
MasterCard Middle East and Africa Executive Vice President for Market Development, Amnah Ajmal said the digital partnership is aimed at enabling consumers to enjoy seamless access to payments.
“We are very excited to partner with Airtel to lead the transition to digital by enabling access to their millions of consumers for online and in-person payments across the globe. Mastercard is uniquely positioned as a single technology provider to enable our digital partners like Airtel to transition seamlessly into digital,” he said.
Airtel Money customers will also benefit from competitive pricing and preferential exchange rates for international payments, and gain access to other domestically relevant use cases including bill payments, merchants payments and value added services such as cash management solutions.
Mobile internet connections are expected to grow rapidly in Africa due to low cost smartphones and high-speed GSM networks being rolled out by Mobile Network Operators like Airtel. This growth in internet connections is creating increased demand for digital content, social media, m-commerce even online education and a need to make online payments easily and securely by both banked and unbanked consumers.
To date, there are over 1 million merchant locations across Africa that accept MasterCard QR payments.