The company said in a statement on Tuesday that the Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) card allowed Airtel Money customers, even those without a bank account, to make payments to local and global online merchants that accepted Mastercard cards.
It said Airtel Money customers would also be able to make in-person payments at outlets via Quick Response codes, whereby payments would be made from an Airtel mobile phone at any location worldwide by just scanning the QR code displayed at checkout or by entering a merchant identifier.
The statement read in part, “To date, there are over one million merchant locations across Africa that accept Mastercard QR payments.
“Airtel Money customers will also benefit from competitive pricing and preferential exchange rates for international payments, and gain access to other domestically relevant uses such as bill payments, merchants payments and value added services such as cash management solutions.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said Airtel and Mastercard had a shared passion for digital transformation and making mobile financial services accessible to everyone across the continent.
He stated that through the partnership, over 100 million Airtel Africa customers would be able to make safe mobile money purchases online and in person.
Mandava said, “The partnership will also significantly bolster Airtel’s position as one of the largest offline-to-online digital payment network in Africa. We are really excited to embark on this partnership with a globally trusted brand like Mastercard.
“This partnership is truly revolutionary in our market, giving millions of people better access to the digital and online world.”
The Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard, Middle East and Africa, Amnah Ajmal, said across the MEA region, Mastercard’s digital partnerships strategy remained focused on enabling digital transformation for its partners so that their consumers could enjoy seamless access to payments and a superior experience.
He said, “We are very excited to partner with Airtel to lead the transition to digital by enabling access to their millions of consumers for online and in-person payments across the globe.
“Mastercard is uniquely positioned as a single technology provider to enable our digital partners like Airtel to transition seamlessly into digital.”
Airtel said in the statement that mobile internet connections were expected to grow rapidly in Africa due to low cost smartphones and high-speed GSM networks being rolled out by mobile network operators.
It stated that the growth in internet connections was creating an increased demand for digital content, social media, m-commerce even online education and a need to make online payments easily and securely by both banked and unbanked consumers.