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M-Pesa comes with online card

MASTERCARD has partnered Vodacom Tanzania and BancABC to introduce the first online card in the country – the M-Pesa virtual card.

The card will allow M-Pesa mobile wallet holders to make payments on any local or international website or app so long as Mastercard is accepted for payment without the need for a bank account or credit card.

Vodacom Tanzania Acting Managing Director, Hisham Hendi, said the virtual card can be accessed from the M-Pesa Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) menu or soon on the M-Pesa app and top the card up via the wallet.

“Once the card is topped up with funds, the virtual card is ready for use,” Mr Hendi said yesterday.

USSD is a Global System for Mobile(GSM) communication technology that is used to send text between a mobile phone and an application programme in the network.

Applications may include prepaid roaming or mobile chatting. M-Pesa is already an industry trailblazer with over 8.2 million subscribers and over 100,000 agents countrywide.

However, customers were limited on making online payments on international websites.

“The introduction of this functionality through the M-Pesa virtual card will revolutionize how people transact by removing the barrier of having bank accounts and risk of putting bank details online,” Vodacom chief said.

Mastercard Division President Sub Saharan Africa, Raghav Prasad, said rolling out of innovative technology solutions in the e-commerce space represents an opportunity for greater financial inclusion and a way forward for cashless society.

“With 60 percent of these transactions happening on mobile platforms, the future of financial inclusion undoubtedly lies in the mobile device that most of us carry around with us,” Mr Prasad said.

Africa's mobile internet connections are expected to grow rapidly due to affordable smartphones and high-speed networks being rolled out by mobile network operators.

“This surge in internet connections will create a demand for digital content, social media, m-commerce and even online education and a need to make payments easily and securely,” the press release showed.

Simple and secure online payments have been proven to improve access to financial services, widely allowing more people to become part of the financial mainstream.

Tanzania has made great strides in financially including its citizens in the past decade. The financial inclusion jumped from merely 15.8 percent in 2009 to 65.3 per cent last year, driven largely by the introduction of easily accessible mobile wallet solutions like M-Pesa.

Vodacom Tanzania has over 12 million subscribers and its subsidiary companies are part of the Vodacom Group registered in South Africa which is in turn owned by Vodacom Group Plc of the United Kingdom.

Mastercard is a technology company in the global payments industry operates in more than 210 countries and territories.

BancABC is pursuing its vision to be the preferred banking partner in Africa by offering world class financial solutions – to the benefit of all its stakeholders.

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Author: BEDA MSIMBE

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