Visa, Airtel Extend Mobile Payments in Africa

Visa and India-based telecommunications services provider Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, are launching a partnership to bring mobile payment services to seven markets in Africa including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.

They will build on the existing capabilities of Airtel’s Mobile Money service, allowing subscribers to use their Airtel Money account to pay in stores and online wherever Visa is accepted. Additionally, customers can withdraw money and make payments from their Airtel Money account using their Airtel Money Visa companion card.

“Mobile payments can transform the lives of people throughout Africa who commonly have access to a mobile phone, but not a bank,” said Vish Sowani, vice president of mobile network operator (MNO) partnerships for Visa.

“For most new subscribers, this will represent their first payment account and bring some of the latest digital payment advancements into the everyday experiences of Airtel’s customers.”

In addition to everyday Visa transactions in stores, online and at automated teller machines (ATMs), Airtel Money can also be used to make micro-payments, conduct fund transfers, purchase airtime and pre-paid electricity, plus Internet bundles – using an easy, safe mobile experience. For example, a bill can be paid without having to travel, wait in long lines, or hold large sums of cash.

Visa and Airtel have already launched an Airtel Money Visa Card in Kenya and will roll out services in other markets shortly.

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