Visa Ramps Up Mobile Payments In Africa

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Seven countries will now be able to benefit from improved Visa payment capabilities

Visa has unveiled plans to expand its mobile payments platform across Africa to help spread the benefits of ecommerce to more countries than ever before.

The payments provider is teaming up with telecoms service provider Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, to bring mobile payment services to seven markets in Africa including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.

The new partnership will build on the existing capabilities of Airtel’s Mobile Money service, enabling subscribers to use their Airtel Money account to pay in stores and online wherever Visa is accepted. Additionally, customers can withdraw money and make payments from their Airtel Money account using their Airtel Money Visa companion card.

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“Mobile payments can transform the lives of people throughout Africa who commonly have access to a mobile phone, but not a bank,” said Vish Sowani, VP of MNO partnerships for Visa. “For most new subscribers, this will represent their first payment account and bring some of the latest digital payment advancements into the everyday experiences of Airtel’s customers.”

In addition to everyday Visa transactions in stores, online and at ATMs, Airtel Money can also be used to make micropayments, conduct fund transfers, purchase airtime and prepaid electricity, plus Internet bundles.

“We are excited to embark on the next phase of development for Airtel Money with our new partner, Visa,” said Chidi Okpala, director and head of Airtel Money Africa. “We can look forward to further empowering our Airtel Money customers with access to retail, ATM and online payments using only their Airtel Mobile Phone and companion card to manage all their mobile payment needs.”

Visa and Airtel have already launched an Airtel Money Visa Card in Kenya and will roll out services in other markets starting in early 2015.

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