Kenya: Mastercard, Pesalink sign deal to drive digital payments sector

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  • Kenya’s PesaLink payments ecosystem has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard to create innovative, digital-first payment solutions
  • PesaLink will leverage Mastercard’s technology, expertise, partnerships, and cyber intelligence solutions to diversify its payment capability beyond person-to-person payments
  • Mastercard will collaborate with PesaLink to expand its services to include a direct-to-consumer digital proposition, agent banking and solutions for business and government payments

Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL) which runs the PesaLink payments ecosystem has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard to create innovative, digital-first payment solutions designed to boost the adoption and usage of digital payments and accelerate Kenya’s transition to a cash-lite economy.

Established by the Kenya Bankers Association, the PesaLink ecosystem continues to grow and today, comprises 31 banks in Kenya and several payment service providers, Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and a telco, enabling over 9.5 million customers to connect to a secure, fast, efficient, and interoperable payment system.

Under the terms of the MoU, PesaLink will leverage Mastercard’s technology, expertise, partnerships, and cyber intelligence solutions to diversify its payment capability beyond person-to-person payments.

Specifically, Mastercard will collaborate with PesaLink to expand its services to include a direct-to-consumer digital proposition (app, USSD, web, etc.), agent banking and solutions for business and government payments, collections, and disbursements, both face to face and remote, among others.

Mastercard will also provide advisory and technical support to advance PesaLink’s digital-first strategy, under local and global best practices.

“The payments landscape in Kenya is developing at a rapid pace and customer demands are growing. To deliver the choice, security, and flexibility that Kenyans need – and increasingly expect – we are delighted to collaborate with Mastercard to create a range of payment solutions that are easy to access, secure, affordable, and always available.

This collaboration with Mastercard is pivotal in providing millions of Kenyans with financial solutions that meet their needs, furthering our goal to accelerate the adoption and usage of digital payments in the country,” said Gituku Kirika, CEO of PesaLink.

According to IPSL – in terms of value – just under 10% of all transactions in Kenya go through a digital channel, with a majority of transactions still done using cash.

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While seemingly inexpensive, cash comes at a high economic cost, which Mastercard estimates to be between 3.2% and 4.5% of GDP.

Digitising payments across channels and use cases can further support the country’s transition to a cash-lite society and deliver more sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Mastercard’s commitment to financial inclusion means the company is actively leveraging the latest technology to simplify and reduce the cost of transacting.

“Our strategy remains focused on enabling digital transformation for our partners so that their customers enjoy a more seamless experience when transacting across different platforms and channels. We are very excited to collaborate with PesaLink to lead the transition to a more inclusive digital payments system – and to do it in a way that helps society at large,” said Shehryar Ali, Mastercard Country Manager for East Africa.

“This marks a significant step towards greater consistency, security and speed for making everyday payments while laying the groundwork for future innovation,”

The MOU aligns with Mastercard’s focus on localising its solutions to address specific market needs and shows a deep understanding of the dynamics of the banking ecosystem in Kenya.

Mastercard said it is committed to connecting and empowering an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart, and accessible.

PesaLink and Mastercard have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create innovative, digital-first payment solutions designed to boost the adoption and usage of digital payments and accelerate Kenya’s transition to a cash-lite economy/ File

Mastercard Unveils ‘Strive’ to Help MSMEs Digitize operations

In a related story, Mastercard recently announced the expansion of its new interactive business intelligence platform Mastercard Market Trends in the Middle East and Africa.

The new platform provides a comprehensive view of payments insights, competitive intelligence and industry trends for banks and financial institutions across the world and now within the Middle East and Africa.

In the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the platform enables a comparison of over 300 cards from five key markets, access to market reports, analysis of global and regional leading fintechs and thought leadership on key payment industry and technology trends, such as Open Banking and Blockchain. Mastercard Market Trends provides a simple, curated view of reliable research – all in one place.

“Access to relevant insights, data, and analytics to inform smart decisions is critical to business success. Mastercard Market Trends offers a one-stop-shop for financial institutions to access key information, which will allow for better decision-making and results. The platform brings together the latest market, industry and consumer insights, enabling financial institutions to really understand their customers and confidently embrace the constant evolution in how people shop and pay,” said Dimitrios Dosis, President, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.

Wanjiku Njuguna is a Kenyan-based business reporter with experience of more than eight years.

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