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MasterCard to expand African mobile payment services

MasterCard has teamed up with Comviva and Tutuka to extend mobile money services throughout Africa.

The collaboration will make use of MasterCard's global electronic payments network, Comviva's mobile payment service mobiquity, and Tutuka's prepaid processing platform.

According to MasterCard, "The collaboration will enable Operators providing mobile money services using Comviva's mobiquity platform to offer their customers prepaid MasterCard cards or Virtual Card Numbers (VCN) linked to their existing stored value accounts."

This, in turn, will allow customers to make payments at all physical and online retailers that accept MasterCard, which, MasterCard says, could benefit more than 750 million consumers across Africa.

"The ubiquity of mobile and interoperability are the keys to the penetration of electronic payments in Africa," stated Mung Ki Woo, MasterCard's mobile group executive. "This solution leverages our biggest asset, the MasterCard Worldwide network, to bring ubiquitous acceptance to mobile wallet consumers across Africa in an efficient and cost effective manner."

Today's announcement is born out of the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program, which was established in February of this year with the aim of bringing access to formal financial services to over 2.5 billion "financially-underserved consumers" worldwide through mobile phones.

"By partnering with Tutuka, we can now bring the full benefits of the MasterCard Mobile Money Partnership Program that we joined in February to consumers across Africa," said Srinivas Nidugongi, VP of mobile financial solutions at Comviva.

"Together, we are now able to bring open loop solutions faster to market, like empowering consumers to utilise their existing stored value account at any of the 33 million locations worldwide that accepts MasterCard."

MasterCard claims that 70 per cent of the world's population owns a mobile phone, while only a half of households (fewer in developing countries) have access to a bank account.