Home Tech Safaricom finally launches M-PESA GlobalPay, its Visa-powered debit card for global digital payments

Safaricom finally launches M-PESA GlobalPay, its Visa-powered debit card for global digital payments

by Sam Wakoba
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After a false start 7 years ago with MasterCard, Safaricom has partnered Visa to launch the M-PESA GlobalPay Visa Virtual card exclusive for international, online payments outside the country at Visa’s merchant locations in over 200 countries, to leave the local market for Visa’s other partners such as fintechs, Saccos, banks and Microfinance institutions.

If you have been around for long, in 2015, Safaricom was working on a prepaid debit card issued by Kenya Commercial Bank and powered by MasterCard to allow M-PESA users load cash on their cards directly from their M-PESA accounts then use them for transactions such as till payments, bus fares, online shopping among others. The M-PESA Mastercard Debit card was targeting to take on a number of prepaid cards such as Nation Hela, Nakumatt Global among others but it failed due to the obcious reasons that KCB also needed those transactional volumes for its balance sheet.

Safaricom wanted to really take on its counterpart that time Airtel which had partnered with Chase Bank to launch its Airtel Money VISA card  to allow easy access funds 24 hours a day, bringing new point-of-sale and ATM transaction options to users. The debit card can be used in supermarkets, petrol stations and restaurants locally and internationally.

To activate the card, customers go to the M-PESA App then select M-PESA GlobalPay, under “Pay” or “Grow” option or dial *334# then select 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..

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 KES 150,000 per transaction and KES 300,000 per day at the prevailing Forex rates.

The M-PESA GlobalPay VISA Virtual card is a timely service tailored to meet the increasing needs of Kenyans using global apps and shopping websites for entertainment, retail, business and even when travelling abroad.

For security, the M-PESA GlobalPay Visa virtual card builds on M-PESA’s security by empowering customers to generate a unique CVV for a 30-minute period. Customers will key in their M-PESA PIN each time they generate a CVV. This feature ensures all the details of the card required to perform a transaction are only known to the customer.

“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,” said Corine Mbiaketcha, Vice President and General Manager for East Africa at Visa. “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.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Safaricom, especially in this era where we are seeing an accelerated switch from traditional cash towards digital spending. By leveraging our vast global network and experience as well as Safaricom’s local know-how and large subscriber base, we are charting a new path for digital payments. We remain optimistic that this partnership will go a long way in opening the global e-commerce market to Kenya’s significant unbanked and underbanked population,” she added.

The M-PESA GlobalPay Visa Virtual Card will gradually be available 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.


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