Kenya is a unique country; it has the tendency of jumping some few steps in the evolution ladder. While most developed countries evolved in this following steps; Letters > Morse Codes > Landline Telephones > Mobile Phones > Internet (e-commerce) > m-commerce, Kenya went from Letters > short-lived landlines > mobile phones > m-commerce.
This rapid evolution is not unique to Kenya alone, most countries in Africa seems to have followed the same trajectory. In Kenya, nine out of 10 internet users are on their mobile phones. As a business worth its salt in Kenya, you have to be mobile-first and mobile fast. Get your business site tweaked for viewing on mobile devices and incorporate mobile money payment options.
It is for that reason that payment options that have flourished in industrialized world play catch up to homegrown solutions such as the mobile money payment solution M-Pesa. Not even global heavyweights like Visa and MasterCard seem to be a competition to reckon with for M-Pesa.
Visa has now decided to rethink its approach to conquering the Kenya market and thus has partnered with Direct Pay Online Group (DPO) to launch mVisa merchant payment service. The product has already signed up some 20,000 local merchants on a pilot program to gauge how the consumers will react to this new mobile payment service.
Some of these merchants include Nation Media Group, Azam TV, Travel Creations, Fly 540, and Amref Flying Doctors.
mVisa is a new m-commerce product powered by Visa in partnership with Direct Pay Online Group (DPO). mVisa enables consumers to pay for goods and services via a mobile banking app connected to their bank accounts. Consumers can also use mVisa to send and receive money from family and friends.
At the POS terminal, mVisa users can pay for the good and service by just scanning a QR code from the app with their smartphone for a more automated checkout. Payments can also be made using a feature phone; the consumer simply has to enter the merchant number in a USSD-based checkout system.
“Visa’s partnership with Direct Pay Online is an important milestone in our mission to enable digital commerce across Africa. Now, even more merchants and customers will benefit from the speed, convenience, and security that mVisa offers whether they are making online or in-store payments,” said Sunny Walia, the General Manager, East Africa for Visa.
Merchants enrolled to the mVisa payment option get a unique QR code, which the customers can scan to make payment using their smartphones. For customers without a smartphone, they can still make payment via USSD commands on their feature phones. The customers are not charged extra for using the service. Users are also able to send and receive money from anywhere in the world where mVisa is accepted.
“We are very excited to partner with Visa. This partnership offers our merchants and their customers the freedom to pay and be paid with ease and convenience. It is a great addition to the payments options we are currently offering our merchants,”said Eran Feinstein, CEO at the DPO Group.
“At Direct Pay Online, we remain committed to providing solutions that bring ease while making payments online and this partnership with Visa helps us live up to this commitment.”
The company was first established in Kenya back in 2006, later expanding to Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, and Namibia. The company processes merchant payment via mobile money and e-wallet solutions.
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