Kenya’s Safaricom and Visa offer virtual card for global transactions
NANYUKI, Kenya: Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecommunications operator, has launched a virtual payment card with Visa, giving the more than 30 million users of its M-Pesa payment system access to global e-commerce platforms .
The M-Pesa Global Pay Visa virtual card will allow users to securely pay for goods and services on sites like Amazon and Alibaba directly from their mobile phone, without the need to open accounts with PayPal.
M-Pesa, launched 15 years ago as one of the world’s first mobile money transfer services, has grown to account for around half of Safaricom’s annual revenue. Through Visa’s digital processing network, its users will now have access to more than 100 million merchants in 200 countries.
Transactions will be charged daily at prevailing exchange rates, subject to current M-Pesa platform limits in local Kenyan currency.
M-Pesa has a single transaction limit of 150,000 shillings (1,285 USD) and a daily limit of twice that. Users will be able to use the virtual card while traveling abroad.
Transactions on the virtual card will be secured through the generation of a unique security code, similar to that found on the back of Visa’s plastic cards, which will be sent to the user’s mobile phone upon payment.
They will need to use their M-Pesa PIN codes each time they generate the Visa secure code, which will increase security.
M-Pesa started life as a simple money transfer service on mobile phones, but is now used to pay for goods and services, save and borrow money, and take out micro-insurance.