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Two new platforms boost digital payment adoption in Africa

Two new digital payment platforms from Interswitch and from Mastercard and Network International are set to accelerate Africa’s growing digital economy

|Feb 21|magazine9 min read

  

Africa is accelerating its adoption of digital payments with two new digital payment platforms unveiled in the last month. 

While Africa’s leading digital innovator Interswitch has unveiled a comprehensive corporate payment solution platform (Quickteller Business) aimed at empowering Africa’s snowballing SME sector, global payment leader Mastercard has collaborated with digital commerce expert Network International on a brand-new digital platform aimed at helping its clients enable mobile-based payments for their consumers and merchants. 

Developed to enable businesses and consumers in Africa to benefit from what is a growing digital economy, what these new digital payment platforms have in common is their ability to not just facilitate, but accelerate, growth in business across the African continent as well as introducing financial inclusion. 

“Accelerated adoption of digital payments means more consumers and businesses are enabled to benefit from a growing digital economy and a world beyond cash,” says Gaurang Shah, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Digital Payments & Labs, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard. 

Digital payments are key to business growth

Digital payments are now, more than ever, essential for business growth in Africa. They are critical to minimising fraud, improve transparency and control, improve the free flow of funds to boost business and economic activity, deliver financial inclusion, and empower SMEs, giving them greater scope for inclusion and access to customers and markets. 

A study by McKinsey in June 2020 stated that “innovation in payments should be one component of the industry’s response to the crisis”, and reported that this should include promoting awareness of digital payments, partnering with other industries, and introducing new and relevant products.

According to Akeem Lawal, Divisional CEO, Payments Processing at Interswitch Group, the SME sector is a potential game-changer for economic growth and development in Africa.

Nigerian SMEs contribute as much as 48% of GDP, with the country boasting one of the fastest growing emerging middle classes in the world, yet 40% remain financially excluded and many lack digital tools for transactions, explains Lawal. 

Furthering access to electronic payment systems for businesses has the potential to increase the contribution of SME commercial activity in economies across the continent.

Introducing Interswitch Quickteller Business

An extension of Interswitch’s existing Quickteller digital payment and ecommerce platform, used by 5 million consumers across Nigeria, Kenya and Gambia, the new digital payment platform, Quickteller Business, represents a significant long-term shift in both the company’s business and the merchant operating model. 

Through this new integrated platform, SMEs, financial services agents and large corporates can focus on their core business knowing that their “diverse transaction needs are taken care of”, explains Lawal. 

Lawal continues, “The platform offers a comprehensive, integrated, payment solution that allows businesses to receive and track payments, generate e-invoices, as well as dispute management. It is an innovative and exciting payment solution that will benefit all business owners. Through this new offering, we are continuing our mission to make payments a seamless part of our everyday lives.”

Mastercard and Network International partner on platform

A collaboration between longstanding partners Mastercard and Network International, a leading enabler of digital commerce in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, this new digital platform for mobile-based payments is being launched across 40 African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and then across the rest of Africa in coming months.

The easy-to-use platform means payment issuers and banks will be able to offer their customers a platform to enable mobile-based payments for their consumers and merchants across various channels. The platforms will be able to accceipt multiple payment types and solutions on offer will including Digital Wallets, P2P Payments and Virtual cards. 

The 2020 McKinsey Global Payment Report
The February issue of Business Chief EMEA