Visa Inc. has introduced mVisa, a new mobile payment service geared at accelerating digital commerce in Kenya and across Africa.
As part of its initial roll-out, Visa has partnered with four banks in the country, namely Co-operative Bank, Family Bank, KCB Bank Kenya and NIC Bank in order to deliver this service to Kenyan consumers and merchants.
On the platform, consumers can directly access all of the funds in their bank accounts in order to pay merchants (person-to-merchant or P2M) or individuals (person-to-person or P2P). Because the transaction runs through the Visa network, the consumers and merchants do not need to be customers of the same bank or mobile operator. This brings, for the first time in Kenya, a versatile and secure mobile payment solution, powered by Visa and its partner financial institutions.
“It is an exciting time as we work with our Kenyan partners to bring a new mobile payment solution to accelerate commerce,” said Andrew Torre, Group Country Manager for Visa in Sub-Sahara Africa. “Kenyans already understand the benefits of mobile payments, and mVisa offers them a better way to pay and be paid, with a service which is not limited by the mobile network they have or the handset they use.”
Some of the key features the mVisa platform is banking on to develop include consumers being in ‘complete control of the transaction initiation and the ability to pay merchants by scanning a QR code on a smart phone or by entering a merchant number into a feature phone. The payment goes straight from the consumer’s bank account into the merchant’s account and provides real-time notification to both parties.
“Family Bank was the first bank in Africa to roll out this revolutionary service, putting us at the center of innovative financial solutions,” said David Thuku, the Chief Executive Officer of Family Bank.
What banks may be happiest about is the fact that the money transacted will be retained in the consumer’s accounts, seeing as mVisa is not a ‘wallet’. VISA says that the platform is secure and easy to track transactions through the QR code experience.
KCB Bank Kenya Retail Director, Anastacia Kimtai said: “mVisa is an innovative service that merges the everyday mobile phone to a payment solutions plan that is easy to use, effective and at zero cost to our customers”
To rope in the informal sector and other merchants across the board, mVisa allows informal traders to accept electronic payments, without the need for point-of-sale terminals. mVisa uses Visa’s global transaction dispute processes to handle refunds and chargebacks.
How mVisa works:
Consumers will be able to access mVisa via their bank’s mobile application on their smart phone or via USSD on their feature phone.
- Once activated, mVisa enables consumers to send money to anyone using the service.
- Aside from P2P, consumers pay for purchases in any retailer including supermarkets, fuel stations and ecommerce by simply transferring funds from their account to the merchant’s account via a QR or USSD code.
- mVisa transactions are processed via Visa’s global network, VisaNet, applying the scale, security and reliability of Visa to mobile payments in emerging markets. The service is designed to enable consumers to access funds in their existing bank accounts more easily in order to make everyday purchases and pay for utility bills and government services, securely and conveniently.
- Merchants and billers benefit by offering consumers a more convenient and secure way to pay, and are instantly notified via SMS text message when a payment has been received. The payments are received directly into their bank accounts allowing them to better manage their business.
mVisa is available with software developer kits (SDKs) and access to Visa APIs, allowing banks and programmers to build additional solutions to help address local payment needs.
| The article contains excerpts from a VISA Press Release permitted for use on OYGK Magazine