Airtel Africa Partners Mastercard to Transform Digital Payments, Connect Consumers

Airtel Africa has announced a partnership with Mastercard to give over 100 million Airtel mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to MasterCard’s global network. To date, there are over 1 million merchants’ locations across Africa that accept Mastercard QR payments.

According to a statement from the company on Wednesday, it stated that the Mastercard virtual -non-plastic- card allows Airtel Money customers, even those without a bank account, to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard cards, while ensuring that the customer’s financial data is always secure and private.

It stated that Airtel Money customers will also be able to make in person payments at outlets via Quick Response (QR) codes.

The telecom firm explained that payments can be made from an Airtel mobile phone by scanning the QR code displayed at checkout or by entering a merchant identifier, at any location worldwide that Mastercard QR is accepted.

In addition, Airtel Money customers will also benefit from competitive pricing and preferential exchange rates for international payments, and gain access to other domestically relevant use cases including bill payments, merchants payments and value added services such as cash management solutions.

Raghunath Mandava, the CEO of Airtel Africa said, “Airtel and Mastercard have a shared passion for digital transformation and making mobile financial services accessible to everyone across the continent.

“Through our partnership we will enable over 100 million Airtel Africa customers make safe mobile money purchases online and in person.

“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.”

Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said, “Across the MEA region our digital partnerships strategy remains focused on enabling digital transformation for our partners so that their consumers can enjoy seamless access to payments and a superior experience”.

Ajmal 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”.

Mobile internet connections are expected to grow rapidly in Africa due to low cost smartphones and high-speed GSM networks being rolled out by Mobile Network Operators like Airtel.

This growth in internet connections is creating 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.