Visa and Safaricom launch M-Pesa GlobalPay Visa virtual card

Two years ago Visa and Kenya’s Safaricom announced a partnership that would see the two utilise the latter’s M-Pesa payment platform for the launch of new solutions. Now that partnership has reaped reward, with the new M-Pesa GlobalPay Visa virtual card being launched by the pair.

According to Visa, this partnership now affords the more than 30 million M-Pesa users in Kenya access to a far wider range of merchants to make cashless payments.

Where the platform previously opened up access to 400 000 merchants, the M-Pesa GlobalPay Visa virtual card features a network of more than 100 million merchants in over 200 countries.

The virtual card can currently be activated via the M-Pesa app or USSD, TechCrunch confirms.

“Safaricom has changed how money moves in Kenya. We are pleased to be working together to build new and innovative payments products and services that will help merchants and customers in Sub-Saharan Africa overcome hurdles to global trade,” noted Visa VP and GM for East Africa, Corine Mbiaketcha, regarding the partnership.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Safaricom, especially given the current environment where we are seeing a hastened shift away from cash and toward digital payments. We are forging a new path for local payments by combining our large global network and experience with Safaricom’s local know-how and subscriber base,” she added.

The solution will be available in Kenya first, but it is unclear whether Vodacom will be offering it in other regions where it operates the M-Pesa solution.

In terms of features for the card, it only indicates your M-Pesa balance and does not store money, utilising the same restrictions that an M-Pesa account does.

To that end the maximum amount per transaction is KES 150 000 (~R19 943) and maximum amount per day of KES 300 000 (~R39 887).As for transaction fees, a 3.5 percent Forex markup is said to be applied.

Other elements to note are the virtual card only lasting three years before needing a new one to be activated, as well as only one card per user is allowed, regardless of how many Safaricom SIMs you may have. For security there is also a dynamic CVV that “exists” on the back of the card and it is refreshed every 30 minutes while transacting.

With this solution seemingly two years in the making, it marks a major development for all parties concerned and the larger mobile payments space on the African continent.




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