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Visa launches mobile payment option that might destabilize existing players

Global payments provider VISA today launched a mobile payment option in Kenya that will soon be rolled out to other African countries. The product dubbed mVisa allows consumers to make payment at more than 1500 outlets across the country by scanning a QR code using their smart phones or using a merchant’s m-Visa ID for transactions via SSID (feature phones).

The platform is currently limited to people with bank accounts at KCB, Cooperative Bank, NIC and Family Bank. Speaking in Nairobi, Visa Emerging Markets Senior Vice President Uttam Nayak is however still optimistic that they can convert about 84 million consumers in the continent who still use cash.

Those can be converted overnight – Utaam Nayak

It is however not surprising that Nairobi was chosen for this launch as Kenya already has a vibrant mobile money market. This will also prove to be a tall order for mVisa due to MPESA’s popularity in Kenyan market and the fact that it’s accessible even to the unbanked.

How mVisa works

  • Customers of participating banks will need to activate mVisa on their mobile banking applications.
  • Once activated, they will be able to access mVisa via their bank’s mobile app or via USSD.
  • mVisa customers will be able to send money to anyone using the service and also use it for making payments.
  • For smartphone users, the merchant will provide a QR code that will have their payment details.
  • For feature phone users, the merchant will give them a number (m-Visa ID) for them to use via USSD.

Visa has also released an mVisa API to enable developers to create apps that accept mobile payments.

The service was initially launched in India in 2015 where VISA has already signed up about 30,000 merchants. Visa plans to roll out the product in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in the coming two months. Nigeria will also see the product launched there in early 2017.






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