Kenya’s telco Safaricom and global digital payments leader Visa on Thursday launched a virtual payment card to enable Mpesa users make digital payments across the globe.
The M-PESA GlobalPay Visa Virtual card will enable Kenyans to make cashless payments at VISA merchant locations across the globe.
The M-PESA GlobalPay Visa Virtual Card will initially be available to M-Pesa users in Kenya and will be rolled out across other M-PESA markets through the M-PESA Super App under a strategic partnership between M-PESA Africa and Visa. These include Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Lesotho and Ghana.
It will be exclusive for international, online payments outside the country to protect customers from incurring forex conversion costs on local online payments billed in Kenya Shillings.
Once a customer performs a transaction with the card, they will receive an SMS with the prevailing exchange rate for the transaction value. Transactions will be subject to current M-PESA limits of $1,283.70 per transaction and $2,567.39 per day at the prevailing Forex rates.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom said the virtual card would enable the company’s customers to use Mpesa anywhere across the world.
“M-PESA has over the past fifteen years evolved from a simple money transfer service to become a robust payment platform and driver of financial inclusion for Kenyans. This has paved the way for numerous innovative services and by partnering with Visa to provide the M-PESA GlobalPay Visa virtual card, we are looking to bridge the gap for our customers who would like to use M-PESA anywhere across the world,” he said.
Corine Mbiaketcha, Vice President and General Manager for East Africa at Visa lauded the partnership between the two firms saying, “Visa is committed to expanding the payments ecosystem across Africa by opening up the global marketplace for every single consumer. This partnership with Safaricom is an important step in helping to achieve this. Safaricom has already transformed how money moves in Kenya, and we are excited to be working together to develop new and innovative payments products and services that can eliminate barriers to global commerce for merchants and consumers in sub-Saharan Africa, through Visa’s global footprint.”
Customers can activate the card via the M-PESA App by selecting M-PESA GlobalPay, under “Pay” or “Grow” option. They can also activate it by dialling *334# then selecting option 6 for “Lipa Na M-PESA” followed by “M-PESA GlobalPay”. Both options will require the customer to use their secret M-PESA PIN. The customer can then view their card details and generate the “CVV” required to confirm online card transactions, manage their cards, set up repeat payments and access their Mini-Statement.
The launch is great news for many M-Pesa users who have been wishing that Safaricom would launch a virtual debit card that can be used for international online payments.