M-PESA goes international


The partnership between Safaricom and Visa has given birth to a new card virtual that allows payments across borders.

The collaboration had earlier developed a physical Kenyan-based card dubbed M-PESA Visa Safari card. But this time they are going international with their new virtual card called M-PESA Global Pay card, which will enable MPESA customers to receive or send payment to almost anyone in the world.

With the new virtual card, M-PESA customer will also be able to send and receive money to and from almost any individual across the world, directly into their bank accounts, for pick up at more than 500,000 Western Union agent locations or through partners like World Remit and Homesend.

Over the last 15 years, M-PESA, the first ever mobile money platform in the world, has crossed the 30 million customer mark, and its super app has been downloaded over 5.3 million times with more than 1 million active customers, while the M-PESA Business App has been downloaded more than 462,000 times.

Reportedly, the carrier has 11 million active Lipa Na M-PESA customers and a network of over 3.2 million businesses that accept M-PESA payments.

Why this card is important

Global payment gateways like PayPal have left African customers wanting hence many M-PESA users may have been looking forward to this virtual card offering. Millions of users in Kenya reportedly use M-PESA for sending and receiving cash, accessing overdrafts (Fuliza), and accessing loans and savings (KCB M-PESA and M-Shwari) and other bill payments options.

The new card had now added the value of being able to do financial transactions across borders.

Financial inclusion

This virtual card is one of the seamless interoperable financial services and products that the partnership between Safaricom and Visa hoped to produce when they entered a partnership in April 2020.

similar strategic partnership exists between Mastercard and MTN’s mobile money unit, MoMo. It has also yielded a similar global payment solution. Mastercard’s virtual payment solution linked to MoMo wallets also allows holders to access a global digital payment experience on websites and mobile applications whether or not the customer has a bank account. These partnerships are progressive benchmarks in Africa’s journey towards financial inclusion.


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