Mastercard and Zambian fintech firm Digital PayGo launch merchant mobile payments solution for SMEs

Mastercard has partnered with Zambian-based fintech company, Digital PayGo, to launch a new merchant mobile payments solution for SMEs in the country.

Known as “SME-in-a-Box”, the solution will enable the SMEs to safely make and receive digital payments through various online channels. It will support the enablement of digital payments for merchants and their customers, by providing them with a convenient, easy-to-use, and safe way to perform cashless transactions from their mobile devices.

Backed by Mastercard’s payment technology, SME-in-a-Box enables digital transactions through the use of a USSD code, Mobile Application, Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS), a Virtual and Physical (plastic) card, and scannable QR code.

A 2020 report commissioned by the Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry indicates that SMEs represent 97% of all businesses in Zambia and employ over half of the working-class population, with nine out of 10 businesses said to operate within the informal sector. These SMEs operating in the informal sector are faced with varying challenges ranging from unanticipated financial needs, and lack of access to capital due to insufficient credit history thus haltering their ability to grow and scale-up. SME-in-a-Box is developed to solve this pain point.

Mastercard says this partnership is a testament to its commitment to leveraging its technology and partnerships to help entrepreneurs digitize their businesses and build a platform for sustained development.  An end-to-end digital proposition, SME-in-a-Box will also enhance payment acceptance options for SMEs and unlock their business growth by enabling them to tap into the diverse opportunities brought about by the digital payment ecosystem.

“SMEs have an outsized impact on the economy, providing a livelihood for many while advancing inclusive growth to reduce poverty and boost prosperity. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened consumer preference for cashless payment platforms and many small businesses do not have the resources and infrastructure to facilitate these kinds of transactions. Through this innovative and secure solution, SMEs will be able to pivot their businesses while aligning them to the growing consumer need to use digital payments and do so safely and conveniently.

“This partnership further reiterates Mastercard’s commitment to bringing 1 billion people globally into the digital economy by 2025 and supporting small businesses through our technology,” said Vincent Chipimo Malekani, Country Business Development Director at Mastercard, Zambia, and Malawi.

Commenting on the partnership, Digital PayGo Chief Executive Officer Charity C. Mwanza said “We are excited about this partnership as it will help SMEs  grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of the digital economy. The Zambian SME sector has been excluded in terms of access to financial services and this proposition will enhance the inclusion process through which SMEs make and receive payments through various channels.”

This partnership supports efforts by the Zambian government to accelerate financial inclusion for all citizens. According to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of 2017, the Zambian government has outlined targets for the digitisation of government-to-persons (G2P) payments such as government salaries and refunds, and persons to government (P2G) payments such as school fees, health service cost sharing from the public, and tax payments.

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