MasterCard partners Ecobank to accelerate electronic payments in 32 African countries

by | Jun 16, 2015

Ecobank is to roll out MasterCard payment solutions to millions of its customers in Africa.

Ecobank signed a landmark multi-country agreement with global payments technology company MasterCard to bring MasterCard’s payment solutions to more than 32 sub-Saharan African markets. It is a move that is expected to increase the acceptance and adoption of electronic payments in Africa, which is rapidly on the rise. According to a GSMA mobile money survey, Kenya trades about $3bn monthly, making that $36bn in mobile money trade in their $37bn economy.

Over 1300 Ecobank subsidiaries will issue MasterCard-branded cards in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ecobank Nigeria, the largest of the Ecobank Group’s 36 African subsidiaries, already began large-scale issuing of MasterCard payment products in April 2014.

As a result of the agreement, cardholders will now be able to access their funds at millions of automated teller machines in Africa and worldwide. They will also be able to pay for products and services in 210 countries and territories where MasterCard payment cards are accepted today.

Ecobank will roll out thousands of mobile point of sale devices to retailers around Africa to boost their pan-African network. These devices allow merchants to process MasterCard payment card transactions by connecting their smartphone or tablet to a secure card reader, enabling them to overcome infrastructure and communication challenges that may arise when using traditional POS devices.

Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa at MasterCard, concluded: “The increased number of MasterCard acceptance locations in Africa means that more consumers and merchants can enjoy the additional protection from the risks and costs associated with cash. This is especially important in Africa, where more than 90 percent of transactions are still conducted in cash.”

Reliability, Transaction amount, Security, Ease of Use, Transaction fees, Trust, Convenience, and Delivery time still remain key factors in determining mode of payments especially in Nigeria according to this report- Scoping Study on Payment Systems in Nigeria: Demand Side Key Findings. New partnerships and constant innovations like this are shifting people from cash based transactions to mobile money especially with the advent of smart phones, however mobile money realizations within Nigeria have not been met, according to CBN.

It’s good to see Ecobank take a large stride with this new partnership, hopefully they are more concerned about making electronic transactions the norm rather than being out for profitability.

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