Safaricom to launch visa virtual card

Safaricom Director Financial Services Sitoyo Lopokoiyit. [File, Standard]

Safaricom is set to launch a virtual Visa card as it further seeks to deepen its hold on mobile payments among Kenyans. The card would also enable its customers pay for products using M-Pesa when in other parts of the world.

The firm said it looking to further tap into e-commerce payments, particularly when Kenyans are buying goods and services from global firms such as Amazon and Netflix.

Local users currently have to go through a tedious process such as having to open accounts with payment platforms such as PayPal and then linking these with their mobile money accounts.

The virtual Visa card will enable them pay directly to these global firms. “The strategy is to open up e-commerce and opportunities for Kenyans to buy products and services online, whether it’s Amazon, Netflix and so on and so forth. So, it makes it much easier to do that,” said M-Pesa Africa Managing Director Sitoyo Lopokoiyit (pictured).

He spoke during a conference call with investors and analysts when Safaricom announced its result this month.

“We are looking at launching it sometime next month (June), and we’re excited about the possibilities of what else we will do with the virtual card. If I travel to London, as an example, I will be able to pay my shopping with the virtual card by using the Visa rail. So, it’s more about expanding the global opportunities for Kenyans.”

Safaricom and Visa in April 2020 announced a partnership to develop products to support digital payments for M-Pesa customers.

The two firms then said the products would help eliminate barriers to global trade and expand mobile e-commerce capabilities to merchants and consumers.

Two years ago, the telco together with a local bank launched the M-Pesa prepay Visa card.

The virtual card is set to boost M-Pesa earnings considering the anticipated growth in e-commerce.