The FINANCIAL -- Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and Bharti Airtel, one of the leading telecommunications services providers with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, on March 2 announced a partnership to bring innovative mobile payment services to seven markets in Africa including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.
Visa and Airtel will build on the existing capabilities of Airtel’s Mobile Money service, allowing subscribers to use their Airtel Money account to pay in stores and online wherever Visa is accepted. Additionally, customers can withdraw money and make payments from their Airtel Money account using their Airtel Money Visa companion card, according to Visa Inc..
“Mobile payments can transform the lives of people throughout Africa who commonly have access to a mobile phone, but not a bank,” said Vish Sowani, Vice President of MNO Partnerships for Visa. “For most new subscribers, this will represent their first payment account and bring some of the latest digital payment advancements into the everyday experiences of Airtel’s customers.”
In addition to everyday Visa transactions in stores, online and at ATMs, Airtel Money can also be used to make micro-payments, conduct fund transfers, purchase airtime and pre-paid electricity, plus Internet bundles - using an easy, safe mobile experience. For example, a bill can be paid without having to travel, wait in long lines, or hold large sums of cash.
“We are excited to embark on the next phase of development for Airtel Money with our new partner Visa,” said Chidi Okpala, Director and Head of Airtel Money Africa. “We can look forward to further empowering our Airtel Money customers with access to retail, ATM and online payments using only their Airtel Mobile Phone and companion card to manage all their mobile payment needs.”
Visa and Airtel have already launched an Airtel Money Visa Card in Kenya and will roll out services in other markets starting in early 2015.