Safaricom has unveiled the long-awaited M-Pesa VISA Virtual card, which allows M-Pesa to be used on global platforms. The virtual card is already available through the M-Pesa App.
The VISA card only serves to map your M-Pesa balance. It does not keep any money. It also follows the same rules and has the same limitations as your M-Pesa account. So, the maximum amount per transaction is KES 150,000, and the maximum daily amount is KES 300,000.
However, unlike other M-Pesa payment options such as Lipa na M-Pesa, there are no transaction fees. Instead, a 3.5 percent forex fee markup will be applied (This is normal of bank cards when doing transactions in different currencies). Safaricom claims that after using the card on any platform, you will receive a breakdown of your transactions and charges.
Create an M-Pesa Visa Virtual Card:
- If you haven’t already, download the M-Pesa app.
- Navigate to the “Grow” tab.
- Opt-in by clicking “Global Pay.”
- You will receive an SMS from ‘Globalpay’ confirming your successful enrollment.
- You can now change the color and image of your card.
- You can finally create the Card after customizing its appearance.
- You will receive an SMS containing your card number and expiration date.
- The app will display card number information as well as the dynamic CVV.
- There will also be a USSD option when dialing *344# to access Lipa na M-Pesa, Global Pay.
The back of the card has a dynamic CVV that changes every 30 minutes. This is done to ensure security and prevent your card from being easily used. This, I believe, also ensures that someone must know your M-Pesa PIN in order to make a transaction with your virtual card. This is because, in order to make a payment with the card, you must first launch the M-Pesa app, authenticate with your PIN or biometrics, and view the new CVV.
To make payments with the M-Pesa VISA virtual card, follow these steps:
When making an online payment with your VISA card, you will select the card option and enter your card number and expiry date, just like you would with any other VISA card. To complete the transaction, go to the M-Pesa app and enter the ever-changing three-digit CVV.
Users can only have one virtual card at a time. Even if you have multiple Safaricom SIM cards linked to your ID, you will only be permitted to use one. Only international platforms accept the card. As a result, you cannot use it on Jumia Kenya or other local commerce platforms.
Card limits can be set via the app. In the case of repeat payments, once that limit is reached, the card will no longer transact. You can, however, use it on international platforms with a local presence, such as Netflix, Google Play, Apple’s App Store, and so on, as long as their checkout system accepts VISA cards. The card is valid for three years. However, if you do not use it, it will become inactive after 6 months.