Mastercard Targets Emerging Markets With Mobile-Payments Acquisition
By Matthew Cochrane
Earlier this month, Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) completed its acquisition of Oltio, a mobile payments start-up, for an undisclosed amount. Oltio has been a partner of Mastercard since 2014, when it enabled consumer authentication on the MasterPass platform in South Africa. Today, that technology allows users to authenticate their MasterPass purchases from a mobile device using their bank PIN. South Africa-based Oltio specializes in mobile payments security and authentication solutions.
Mastercard South Africa President Mark Elliott said in a press release: “Too many consumers and merchants in the MEA region [Middle East-Africa] are stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them. By combining our joint expertise, technologies and reach, we can bridge the divide between the region’s cash economies and the digital future, bringing the benefits of digital payments to more people and businesses.”
This acquisition potentially checks two key boxes for Mastercard: (1) growth in emerging markets and (2) mobile-payments capabilities.
Photo courtesy of Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion.