Mastercard has rolled-out Masterpass QR in seven markets in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in a move to deliver efficient and cost effective payment solutions to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.
“Mastercard remains fully committed to delivering solutions that build inclusive ecosystems and consequently drive a cashless society. The most effective way to ensure the continued evolution of products and services that develop robust and resilient digital payment systems is by forging strong partnerships,” says Gaurang Shah, Lead for Digital Payments and Innovation Labs in Middle East and Africa, Mastercard while at Mobile World Congress.
Masterpass QR facilitates operational efficiencies for MSMEs, the backbone of emerging market economies. According to the World Bank, these enterprises create four out of five new jobs in emerging economies. The solution allows millions of MSMEs to accept quick and secure payments and empowers consumers to move beyond cash when buying goods and services.
The solution further offers convenience to consumers by enabling them to pay for in-store purchases by scanning the Quick Response (QR) code displayed at checkout on their smartphones, or by entering a merchant identifier into their feature phones, at any location worldwide that Masterpass QR is accepted.
“By continuing to partner with market leaders to roll-out scalable solutions, Mastercard is better equipped to fulfil its strategy of bringing millions of previously excluded citizens – both business owners and consumers – into the financial mainstream and developing payment ecosystems that enable for people to move beyond cash,” concludes Shah.
Mobile financial services can potentially contribute $3.7 trillion to emerging economies in the next ten years. With mobile penetration figures on the rise and predictions that smartphone adoption in the region will jump to 65 percent (467 million devices) by 2020, it goes without saying that mobile-driven and supported solutions will have a significant impact on financial inclusion.
Some of the milestones include; In Pakistan, Mastercard supported United Bank Limited by introducing the country’s first interoperable digital payment solution in August 2016, allowing consumers to use their mobile banking app to pay for goods and services.
Mastercard launched the solution in the first African market in partnership with the Ecobank Trans International Group in Nigeria. The partnership was later extended to include the signing of a strategic partnership agreement that will result in Masterpass QR being rolled-out in 33 countries across Africa along with the launch of the financial institution’s new mobile banking app focused on impacting 100 million new customers by 2020.
In early January 2017, UBA introduced the first merchant-focused app in Africa aimed at creating a SMART (secure, mobile, accessible, reliable, transparent) network of 100,000 micro merchants in Nigeria, using Masterpass QR to drive efficiency and a secure method to accept payments.
And in February 2017, Masterpass QR was officially launched in Kenya along with a commitment to empower 150,000 MSMEs within 2017 by giving them access to the solution.
The solution has since been rolled out to a number of markets across the region, most notably in Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana.
According to Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said, “With partnerships such as the one that we have with Mastercard, we are well positioned to meet the growing demands of consumers and merchants across Africa who are becoming more reliant on using their mobile phones to make payments.”
“We see enormous potential for this innovative solution in Africa especially with the growing population of mobile phone users. With Masterpass QR, we are offering our customers a trusted digital payment service. Previously consumers were restricted to using cash but with Masterpass QR, shoppers no longer need to carry cash or have their physical bank cards on them to make payments.”