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Airtel Africa, Mastercard strengthen digital alliance

By , ITWeb
Africa , 18 Oct 2019

Airtel Africa, Mastercard strengthen digital alliance

Airtel Africa has announced a partnership with Mastercard, giving over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to Mastercard's global network.

In a statement released to the media, the companies explain that the Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) card allows Airtel Money customers (including those without a bank account), to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard cards – "while ensuring that the customer's financial data is always secure and private."

In addition, Airtel Money customers will also be able to make in-person payments at outlets via Quick Response (QR) codes (whereby 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 that Mastercard QR is accepted), according to the statement.

The companies attest that there are over 1 million merchant locations across Africa that accept Mastercard QR payments.

According to the statement, 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."

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer of Airtel Africa said, "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 make safe mobile money purchases online and in person. The partnership will also significantly bolster Airtel's position as one of the largest offline-to-online digital payment network in Africa. We are really excited to embark on this partnership with a globally trusted brand like Mastercard."

Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president for market development, Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said, "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. 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."

Airtel and Mastercard suggest mobile internet connections are expected to grow rapidly in Africa due to low cost smartphones and high-speed GSM networks being rolled out by MNOs.

"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," they state.

According to the GSM Association's (GSMA) Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa 2019 report, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing investment areas for tech firms, with a predicted total subscriber base of over 600 million by 2025.

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