Mastercard has today announced a new partnership with Tanzanian fintech Selcom to expand its mobile payments solution, Masterpass QR, in Tanzania. The announcement was made today at the ongoing Financial Times Payments Innovation Summit happening in Nairobi Kenya.
The partnership will provide Mastercard access to Selcom’s established network of merchants in Tanzania and the two will work to empower these merchants to accept QR payments. Additionally, the partnership will enable banks, Micro Finance Institutions, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to offer Masterpass QR to their customers with the goal of creating a cashless Tanzania.
Available on either a mobile money account or a banking app, Masterpass QR is a quick, secure and convenient way for consumers to pay and for merchants to accept digital payments. Merchants will display a Quick Response (QR) code instore that can be scanned using a smartphone or alternatively the consumer can use the USSD menu on their feature phone and simply type in a unique merchant code.
Over 95 percent of the businesses in Tanzania are SMEs, representing 35 percent of the country’s GDP according to the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. The countrywide roll-out of Masterpass QR will go a long way to empower these businesses to accept interoperable electronic payments, while providing banks and MNOs with a wider range of solutions and services to offer to their customers.
“Tanzanian SMEs are too reliant on cash as a means of transacting, which puts businesses at risk of crime and also places a burden on the economy,” says Chris Bwakira, Vice President and Area Business Head, East Africa, Mastercard. “Cash handling is expensive, and in todays connected world, unnecessary. There are more efficient ways for businesses to operate, and the role of our partnership with Selcom will help us to develop a stronger payments ecosystem in Tanzania to the benefit of all its citizens.”
Masterpass QR will enable thousands of merchants to accept quick and secure payments, giving them a competitive edge and providing a way for these business owners to track their financial history, further enabling them to access loans and other financial products that can help to grow their business. Especially important for the two organisations is the ability to reach merchants and consumers that currently don’t have a mobile money account or formal banking account.
“Supporting local business growth is critical, and our role as the private sector should not be overlooked. The local government cannot achieve its goals to drive innovation and entrepreneurial competitiveness alone, it will take investment and commitment by organisations vested in Tanzania’s prosperity,” says Sameer Hirji, Executive Director of Selcom.
“Selcom and Mastercard’s aim is to shape the way payments are made in Tanzania using digitally enabled solutions. Tanzanians have an affinity for mobile, so introducing payment solutions that remove the need to carry around cash will make their lives considerably easier and safer. Our partnership will enable us to also expand the scope of Masterpass QR beyond retail, reaching more businesses in the country and potentially across Africa,” concluded Hirji.
In February, Mastercard also partnered with M-Kopa to light up homes and businesses in Africa. Under this partnership which was unveiled at the Mobile World Conference, M-KOPA will also pilot Mastercard’s Quick Response (QR) payment technology in Uganda to extend the reach of its pioneering pay-as-you-go solar program.