Innovative digital solutions will enhance mobile-based payments for issuers, merchants, acquirers and consumers

Sub Saharan Africa, 21 January 2021: Mastercard, a technology leader in the global payments industry, and its strategic partner, Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, have collaborated to launch a new digital platform which will accelerate the adoption of digital payments across the Middle East and Africa.

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With this new digital platform launching in January, Network International will help its clients to enable mobile-based payments for their consumers and merchants across various channels. Merchants will now have one simple-to-use technology interface through which they will be able to accept multiple payment types, ranging from USSD, Quick Response (QR) to Standard POS and ecommerce, with mobile money and Tap on Phone (technology which allows merchants to accept contactless card payments directly on their smartphone or tablet) coming online later in 2021.

The solution will initially be launched across 40 African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and extended across the rest of Middle East and Africa in the coming months.

Payment issuers and banks will be able to offer their consumers state-of-the-art and easy-to-use payment solutions including Digital Wallets, Person-to-Person (P2P) Payments and Virtual cards. Additionally, the platform lays the foundation for financial institutions to simplify access to a growing range of best-in-class Mastercard products.

Across the Middle East and Africa, governments and NGOs are publicly supporting a move to digital payments and less reliance on cash to secure the financial inclusion of more people. With limited card payment infrastructure in some markets, mobile payment solutions are ideal to help offer electronic transactions to more communities – both in-store and online.

“Accelerated adoption of digital payments means more consumers and businesses are enabled to benefit from a growing digital economy and a world beyond cash. Mastercard’s trusted, secure technology will be available to more people through this digital platform and we are very proud to activate this important initiative with Network International as our long-term strategic partner,” said Gaurang Shah, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Payments & Labs, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.

“Our partnership with Mastercard is focused on rapidly growing electronic payment usage across our region and this initiative is a major foundational step in meeting that goal,” added Paul Clarke, Group Head of Product & Innovation, Network International. “We believe the launch of this platform is the first in a series of steps towards delivering simplified, collaborative payment solutions across the payments value chain in the Middle East and Africa. We have plans to grow the platforms’ capabilities so that we can help our joint customers, large and small, accelerate the move from cash to digital solutions.”

The companies have a long-standing partnership, including Mastercard’s strategic investment in Network International and a shared commitment to develop innovative payment solutions that will grow electronic transactions across the MEA region.

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About Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

About Network International

Network International comprises a group of companies and is the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, providing a full suite of technology-enabled payments solutions to merchants and financial institutions of all types and sizes, including acquiring and processing services and a comprehensive ever-evolving range of value-added services.

Network International Holdings Plc is the holding company for Network International and the group companies.

 

Definition of terms:

  • USSD – refers to unstructured supplementary service data. It’s a technology that transmits information through GSM network channels – these channels are normally used for voice calls via phone.
  • QR – refers to Quick Response, and is presented as a barcode-looking image that contains information on both the merchant and payment provider. This type of payment functions like a normal Point of Sale terminal: a customer uses their phone to scan the QR code and completes the payment on the spot.

SoftPoS – Software Point of Sale or SoftPoS is a revolutionary new technology which allows merchants to accept contactless card payments directly on their smartphone or tablet without the need for any additional hardware