Visa Begins Mobile-Money Service to Rival Safaricom’s M-Pesa
Visa Inc., the world’s largest payments network, introduced a mobile-phone application to enable cashless transactions in Kenya, where the majority of wireless payments are being done through the nation’s biggest telecommunications company, Safaricom Ltd.
The mVisa app will initially facilitate transactions for people with accounts at four banks, including KCB Group Ltd. and Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd., according to Visa Emerging Markets Senior Vice President Uttam Nayak.
Africa had 557 million mobile-phone users at the end of 2015, according to the GSM Association, an industry group. The company estimates 84 million of them still pay by cash.
“Those can be converted overnight,” Nayak said in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. “We are very proud that it is inter-operable and not dependent on a bank and not dependent on a mobile operator. It democratizes payments,” he said of the system.