Visa Announces Mobile Money Deal with Bharti Airtel

by Tristan Hugo-Webb 0

Visa has announced a new deal with telecommunication networkBharti Airtel that will see the card network and the telco expand operations inseven markets in Africa, including Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda,Seychelles and Tanzania. According to the announcement, the two companies willbuild on the existing capabilities of Airtel’s Mobile Money service but willsee customers obtain a companion Visa card to make payments in store or towithdraw cash if they would like.

In a new report released for the GSMA World Mobile Congressin Barcelona this week, the GMSA has shown how mobile money services arerapidly growing in developing markets. According to the report, there are atleast 255 services in 89 countries, with mobile network operators leading thepace. In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 50% of all telcos have already launched amobile money service and at the end of last year, 23% of all mobile connectionsthere were linked with a mobile money account.

Commenting on the deal, Vish Sowani, vice president of MNOpartnerships for Visa said, “For most new subscribers, this will representtheir first payment account and bring some of the latest digital paymentadvancements into the everyday experiences of Airtel’s customers.”

With telco’s playing a larger and larger role in thepayments industry it is important for major players like Visa to makeconnections with this group as mobile money demand and use grows. Movingforward, one can expect to continue to see new deals like this with Visa andthe other card networks as they attempt to connect with an increasingly mobileorientated consumer base.


Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments for Mercator Advisory Group

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