Mobile Payment Growth in Africa - Sundiata Tech

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Mobile Payment Growth in Africa

With the steadily increasing rate of mobile phone ownership in Nigeria, Africa and the world, it is only logical that the mobile phone should be used to the fullest of its capabilities, which is to carry out various technological functions in today’s digitally enhanced world.

A recent report carried out by Ericsson, shows that Nigeria had the fifth largest mobile subscription growth in the world in the first quarter of 2017, with over 3 million new subscriptions even as the number of mobile subscriptions surpass the number of the country’s population, trailing behind India who grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter with more that 43 million, China with more than 24 million, Indonesia with 10 million and Pakistan with 5 million respectively.

Mobile telecommunications operators in Nigeria have also confirmed that data revenues in have surpassed voice revenues by a very large margin. This shows that subscribers are doing a lot more than calls and texts with their mobile phones and with different banking applications and USSD codes, customers can carry out transactions much more easily with either their smartphones or feature phones.

In order to  further promote the cashless policy in Nigeria, Visa, a global payment leader has launched mVisa, its innovative mobile payment service which is also live Kenya, India, Rwanda and Egypt with plans to launch across Africa.

Visa, which has already partnered with Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank and First Bank will offer customers the convenience of mVisa through their mobile banking apps has made Nigeria the first market in Africa to provide customers with the convenience of making cross-border payments using mVisa.

They say, Access Bank, Ecobank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank will go live with mVisa in the coming weeks.

Diamond Bank’s Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Uzoma Dozie, stated that the launch of mVisa is timely and aligns with the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the digital growth strategy of the bank.

‘’With mVisa, Diamond Bank has raised the bar for cashless banking in Nigeria by maintaining its leadership role in driving digital financial revolution in the country. Our customers will be able to make everyday payments simply by using their mobile phones. I think mVisa is the biggest thing that has happened in the industry.”

How mVisa works:

Business merchants, who before now, had to either purchase a Point of Sales Terminal (PoS), which can be somewhat unreliable due to bad network connectivity, or accept cash only, now have the option of using the innovative Quick Response (QR) mobile technology that reduces cost and friction for accepting electronic payments.

A QR code is the trademark for a type of two-dimensional barcode at the bank which is designed to be unique to the retailer. To accept payment or process refunds, customers only has to scan the barcode with their smartphone through their existing mobile banking app, making payment much easier and faster.

Speaking to media stakeholders at the launch of mVisa in Nigeria, Andrew Torre, President for Visa Sub-Saharan Africa said, “Small and medium merchants in particular, no longer have to invest in expensive point of sale infrastructure as mVisa gives them the freedom to accept payments in a convenient, secure and affordable manner that their customers trust.”

“We are very excited to see more and more merchants come on board every day as they begin to understand the benefits that mVisa brings, including real-time notifications of payments and access to sales and transactions history. We have campaigns lined up for the coming months to support our merchants and encourage new customers to experience mVisa at various locations across Nigeria.” Torre said

According to him, “Visa and its financial institution partners are, for the first time, providing the benefits of digital commerce to potentially everyone, everywhere across Nigeria and the African continent, bringing millions more people into the formal financial system.”

Benefits of using mVisa:

  • Customers do not necessarily have to go everywhere with their debit or credit cards as purchases can easily be made with their mobile phones.

  • Customers with feature phones can use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes to make mVisa payments.

  • Merchants can process refunds immediately from the app.

  • Debits and credits are made immediately

  • Receipts can be issued and records are kept safe in the app.


mVisa is already accepted at several locations across the country with many more merchants joining the ecosystem over the new few months. These merchants include DSTV, Konga.com, Genesis and IMAX Cinemas, Hard Rock Café, Quickteller and Spar.

The mVisa implementation in Nigeria benefited from the Visa Developer Platform, which allowed all partner banks the ability to integrate the mVisa APIs directly into their mobile banking apps. While rolling out a new solution with a bank typically can take a very long time from development to implementation and testing, utilizing the Visa Developer Platform interface reduced the time taken significantly. This helped to speed up the number of banks who have been able to roll out the mVisa solution in Nigeria.

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