- Mastercard has partnered with illicocash, Rawbank's fintech arm, to launch a virtual card programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to provide consumers and businesses with a new and convenient way to engage in eCommerce transactions.
- This move follows Rawbank's partnership with Thunes, a global provider of cross-border payment infrastructure, in 2022 to streamline cross-border transactions between the nation and the international community.
- Customers in the DRC can request valid virtual cards on domestic and international websites through this partnership, which opens up new entertainment, shopping, and experience options.
Along with supporting online purchases, it will help small and startup businesses streamline the management of their employees' travel expenses by doing away with the need for physical cards.
According to Karim Nouri, General Manager of illicocash, the virtual card programme is a significant addition to the fintech's digital services because it addresses the needs of the unbanked and underbanked populations.
Merely 26% of the working population had a bank account as of 2022, and roughly 35% of adults do not have one, citing the primary barrier as being far from financial institutions and services.
Jean-Charles Yallet, FSSA Country Lead for MENA West at Mastercard, describes the partnership as a vital component of the credit card company's mission to “bring one billion people and 50 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide into the digital economy by 2025.” He highlighted the company's commitment to partner local fintech firms to foster innovation in Africa's payments sector and promote financial inclusion.
In August 2023, Airtel Africa and Mastercard joined forces to introduce a new cross-border remittance service, streamlining the process for their 100 million customers in 14 African nations to send and receive money internationally.
Also, in January 2024, Standard Bank Group, the largest bank by assets in Africa, and UnionPay International, a subsidiary of UnionPay in China, partnered to facilitate eCommerce in several African countries.