Visa and Safaricom have launched a virtual card service that will connect the Kenyan telecom operator’s M-PESA financial services platform with VISA’s global network of merchants and cards.
Touted as the missing link to integrate M-PESA into the global payments system, the deal will enable M-PESA subscribers use the platform as a virtual card allowing them to make payments abroad when they travel and also letting them transfer cash from their VISA-linked debit cards to their M-PESA wallet even when abroad.
Users can activate the virtual card through the M-PESA mobile app or by USSD:
- Customers can activate the card via the M-PESA App by selecting M-PESA GlobalPay, under ‘Pay’ or ‘Grow.’
- They can also activate it by dialling *334# then selecting option 6 for ‘Lipa Na M-PESA’ followed by ‘M-PESA GlobalPay’ option.
Previously, M-PESA users could only make mobile money payments within M-PESA’s network of nearly 400, 000 merchants.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom, said in a joint statement earlier that the deal will facilitate global electronic commerce, while Andrew Torre, President of VISA, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the company was committed to creating new and improved payments experiences.
Safaricom, the telco which is positioning itself as a digital financial services provider, said The #MPESAGlobalPay VISA Virtual Card will be exclusive for international, online payments outside the country to protect customers from incurring forex conversion costs on local online payments billed in Kenya Shillings.
Earlier in 2022, VISA opened its first lab on Africa in Kenya with the desire to team up with African financial players and fintechs towards more innovation.
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