Visa targets developing world with plug-and-play mobile money service

Visa targets developing world with plug-and-play mobile money service

Visa has launched a plug-and-pay mobile money platform aimed at banks and telcos in developing countries, with partners in India and Rwanda already signed up to the service.

Built on technology from Fundamo, the South African vendor acquired by Visa in 2011, the new platform is the "world's first bank-grade managed service for mobile money", claims the card giant.

This means it hosts and fully manages all aspects of a mobile money programme on behalf of the provider, from user interface design to consumer enrolment, transactions processing, authorisation, clearing and settlement, and regulatory compliance.

Providers, such as mobile operators, banks and micro-lending organisations, can then offer customers financial accounts linked to their mobile phone numbers. These accounts will enable users to carry out cash-in and -out transactions at agent locations, pay bills, make domestic and international money transfers, top up air time and buy transport tickets.

The platform is capable of hosting and managing programmes worldwide with ICICI Bank and Aircel in India already signed up and Rwanda's Bank of Kigali and Urwego Opportunity Bank also on board.

Geoff King, head, mobile banking, Aircel, says: "Through the Visa hosted and managed service, Aircel is now able to partner with local banks to offer our mobile subscribers access to money services that will simplify their financial lives."

Bill Gajda, head, global mobile products, Visa, says: "We applaud the early pioneers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East who have launched closed-loop mobile financial services and reached so many consumers so quickly.

"As demand grows, so does the cost and complexity to maintain these services. Visa's new mobile money platform is designed to allow mobile operators and financial institutions to focus on their core business, while leaving the management of their mobile money service to Visa."

Visa is taking a two-pronged approach to its digital strategy, with a different offering, the digital wallet, for developed markets. Dozens of banks in the US and Europe will begin rolling out - which lets registered users make secure online payments to participating merchants with just a username and password - this year.

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