Mastercard, in collaboration with Illicocash, a money transfer app associated with Rawbank, is set to revolutionise digital transactions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through an inventive virtual card programme.
The primary objective of this partnership is to drive financial inclusion in the Central African country by offering consumers the ability to perform cardless e-commerce transactions effortlessly, while businesses can readily accept such transactions.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that a mere 26% of the active population in the DRC currently holds a bank account, with limited access to physical branches being a substantial hindrance to wider adoption. Recognising these challenges, the Mastercard-Illicocash collaboration aims to overcome barriers to financial inclusion by presenting virtual cards that can be swiftly ordered and used across national and international e-commerce platforms.
For businesses in the DRC, the virtual card programme is expected to simplify the management of commercial expenses and enhance the efficiency of online payment processes.
Illicocash’s General Manager, Karim Nouri, deems this partnership and the ensuing virtual card initiative a “crucial addition” to their digital services portfolio, which already includes online account openings, cardless cash withdrawals, and international money transfers.
Mastercard’s latest venture in the DRC follows its notable forays into Africa’s mobile money market. The company’s commitment to the continent is exemplified by its $100 million investment in telecom firm Airtel Africa in April 2021 and the recent acquisition of a minority stake in African mobile network operator MTN Group’s fintech business last August. This strategic move aligns with Mastercard’s continuous exploration of opportunities within Africa’s burgeoning fintech sector, as highlighted in its “The Future of Fintech” whitepaper released in 2022.