By Omobayo Azeez
Airtel Africa has partnered Mastercard, the digital payment service provider, to give over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to Mastercard’s global e-payment network.
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According to the telecoms company in a statement on Wednesday, Mastercard virtual card which is different from its plastic card will allow customers on the network of Airtel Money service to perform payment transactions.
According to Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel 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 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. This partnership is truly revolutionary in our market, giving millions of people better access to the digital and online world,” Mandava said.
He further emphasised that with the partnership, the payment service is automatically extended to those without bank accounts, giving such people the leverage to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard cards.
While he assured customers of security of their financial data and privacy, it added that its Airtel Money customers will also be able to make in-person payments at outlets via Quick Response (QR) codes.
“With the QR channel,” he explained, “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. To date, there are over 1 million merchant locations across Africa that accept Mastercard QR payments.
“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,” Mandava said.
Meanwhile, Amnah Ajmal, executive vice president, 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. Mastercard is uniquely positioned as a single technology provider to enable our digital partners like Airtel to transition seamlessly into digital.”