The world’s largest payment network, Visa, is challenging the world’s largest mobile money platform, M-Pesa, in its home country. Visa has launched its mVisa app which allows users to make purchases or transfer money on their mobile phones in Kenya.
M-Pesa was launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Tanzania and Kenya. It has since expanded to other countries, including South Africa, India, Afghanistan, Romania and Albania. M-Pesa allows users to withdraw, deposit, transfer money, and pay for goods and services easily with a mobile device.
The mVisa app will facilitate transactions for people with accounts at four banks, including Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd., and KCB Group Ltd., according to Visa Emerging Markets Senior Vice President, Uttam Nayak.
Users of mVisa make payments by scanning a unique merchant Quick Response (QR) code using their smart phones. Around 1,500 merchants have already signed up.
Visa have admitted that the one reason for entering the mobile money market is because it hasn’t had success promoting its credit cards in the largest economy in East Africa. “One of the reasons is we haven’t had as many cards as we’d like,” said Andrew Torre, head of Visa for Sub-Saharan Africa, “the other reason is we haven’t been able to engage the hundred millions of merchants where people shop.” Visa have plans to expand in Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Uganda within the year.
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