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​Mastercard to use Facebook Messenger to help businesses access digital payments in Africa

Mastercard has announced that it will use Facebook Messenger to provide technology to small businesses in Africa and Asia in a bid to drive affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments.

According to the company, the Facebook Messenger experience will launch in Nigeria, where Mastercard will pilot a new Masterpass QR bot to help business owners’ move beyond cash transactions to accepting QR payments.

For now, Ecobank and Zenith Bank are the only banks in Nigeria that are supporting the initiative which would enable access to digital payments for small businesses to expand into new markets, and unlock financial services and products that would enable them to grow their livelihoods.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Bank, Ecobank Group says:

“In line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by the end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable underserved and unbanked micro-merchants with the opportunity to open an Ecobank account almost immediately and begin to receive instant payments using Ecobank Masterpass QR on the Facebook Messenger platform. Micro merchants in Nigeria are already benefiting from Masterpass QR and will soon be in 32 markets across Africa, enabling them to move away from cash.”

Peter Amangbo, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc says:

“Our Bank is partnering with Facebook and Mastercard to introduce Masterpass QR as a means of driving financial inclusion and creating a new payment ecosystem for MSMEs and consumers. This initiative will help us encourage financial inclusion within the country in line with the strategic thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Buyers and sellers now meet and conclude transactions in-store, online and on social media, so we are ensuring payments can also be made on these platforms via QR codes, without having to log onto other solutions or even take a break from what you are doing on Facebook.”

To get started, businesses can send a request to the bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the bank, set up an account and start accepting digital payments in a fast, simple and secure manner. Once the account set up process is complete, business owners can print and display the QR code in their stores or save the code on their phones. Customers can pay by either scanning the code from their smartphone or by entering the merchant ID associated with the QR code into their feature phone.

Launched in 2016, Masterpass QR provides people with any type of mobile phone the ability to safely accept and make in-person purchases without cash or a plastic card.

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