Payments

Visa partners with MFS Africa to expand digital payments across the continent

  • While Africa has high levels of mobile wallet adoption, it's not really connected to the global payments ecosystem.
  • Through a deal with MFS Africa, Visa is helping connect 180 million mobile wallets to digital payments.
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Visa partners with MFS Africa to expand digital payments across the continent

Visa and MFS Africa announced a partnership today that will help bridge the gap between the mobile money ecosystem in Africa and online digital payments.

What's happening: Mobile money wallets are popular across Africa but without association to a virtual or physical network credential, many international online services are unavailable.

  • MFS Africa is Africa's largest digital payments hub. The firm will distribute Visa payment credentials to over 180 million mobile wallets on the continent via one API.
  • This will allow mobile money users connected to the MFS Africa platform to generate an instant Visa virtual card with a 16-digit number and link it to their mobile money accounts to use for remittances and ecommerce transactions. 
  • This partnership significantly expands Visa’s reach and its ability to open up commerce to the region.

“In the past few years, we have been relentlessly focused on creating new digital pathways between mobile money users in Africa," said Dare Okoudjou, founder and CEO of MFS Africa. "Having reached significant scale, we are now turning our focus to connecting our network to the wider world, to unleash the wealth of opportunity that trade with Africa presents to the global economy."

Pushing push payments: As part of the agreement, MFS Africa will also integrate Visa’s real-time push payments solution Visa Direct, to provide mobile money users a way to send and receive money and remittances directly from and into their mobile money wallets via eligible card credentials.

  • Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa are set to increase by over 5.6 percent between 2019 and 2020, reaching $51 billion, according to the World Bank.
  • However, the region is still the most expensive in the world to send money to, with an average cost of 9.3 percent.

“Africa is adopting a mobile-led, digital payments ecosystem and with Visa looking to accelerate the distribution of payment credentials and expand the acceptance space for digital payments, this partnership is an important one,” said Jack Forestell, Visa's executive vice president and chief product officer.

“MFS Africa will help us enable digital payment use cases at scale through their aggregation model.”

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