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MasterCard ramps up Fintech platforms in Malawi, Zimbabwe

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 22 Oct 2021

Global payments platform MasterCard has been integrated with Zimbabwe’s electronic payments platform, Zimswitch, which means that locals can now make seamless domestic and international e-commerce transactions using one bank card.

BancABC, the local unit of Atlas Mara, is the first Zimbabwean bank to issue a debit and credit card that will enable Zimswitch and MasterCard local and international payments respectively.

The Zimswitch and MasterCard integrated debit and credit cards can be used for online transactions and payments for subscription services for pay regional and international television and streaming services as well as travel, among others.

This comes as “Zimbabweans are increasingly seeking safe, seamless and consistent digital payment experiences,” according to MasterCard.

The integration of MasterCard and Zimswitch enhances the transition of Zimbabwe’s financial services to digital platforms, the company added, and aids financial inclusion.

COVID-19 has accelerated migration to digital platforms.

Zimbabweans often have to buy a once-off virtual international debit card into which they deposit foreign currency to make international e-commerce payments.

The country’s financial services ecosystem struggles for foreign currency against the backdrop of volatility in the exchange rate and cash shortages. Despite this, electronic payments still dominate local payments platforms.

Apart from Zimbabwe, MasterCard has been ramping up its Fintech capacity across the region. It has just launched Malawi’s first debit card that is linked to mobile money yesterday when it partnered with TNM’s Mpambwa platform.

The MasterCard integrated mobile money debit card will connect TNM mobile company’s Mpamba wallet holders “to a global marketplace, enabling them to use mobile money to make safe online and in-person payments on the MasterCard network,” the company said on 21 October.

The card, powered by National Bank of Malawi, also enables mobile money account holders to withdraw money from Automated Teller Machines.

The TNM Mpamba MasterCard debit card will “add over nine million people to the national payments system in one fell swoop,” said Wilson Banda, Reserve Bank of Malawi governor.

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