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Wednesday 12th May, 2021

Fintech

Mastercard Partners SadaPay, Launches MEA Region’s First Numberless Card In Pakistan

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SadaPay and Mastercard are issuing the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region’s first numberless and contactless-enabled card, allowing users to transact in a simpler, faster and more secure way.

This announcement which is an effort at building on the partnership announced in Pakistan in 2020, further strengthens Mastercard’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion in emerging markets and encouraging the adoption of secure digital payment methods.

As Pakistan’s first numberless card, the new offering has been designed to provide SadaPay users with a safe and simple way to transact both online and offline.

The physical version of the card is completely numberless, both front and back, thus providing ultimate protection from the prospect of theft of personal and financial information for additional peace of mind.

Despite being a numberless card, cardholders can still use it easily to make e-commerce payments as their card details are safely stored within the SadaPay app.

The launch of the numberless card is the first implementation of Mastercard’s Digital First program in Pakistan and the wider MEA region.

This innovative technology will set the stage for a more advanced digital payment landscape in the country offering cardholders with contactless and safer ways to transact.

“Our focus is to deliver a safe and secure digital experience to all cardholders. Mastercard is a trusted partner that enables issuers and merchants to leverage technologies such as the numberless cards to ensure the safety of e-commerce and over-the-counter transactions in order to protect consumers and merchants against fraud.

We are truly excited to be launching the first numberless card in Pakistan and the MEA region in partnership with SadaPay. We continue to partner with digital players across the region to launch exciting digital solutions and share innovations to advance financial inclusion, bringing us closer to a world beyond cash,” said Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President, Digital Partnerships MEA, Mastercard.

“SadaPay takes the security of its customers very seriously and it is in that spirit that we have brought an innovative regime like numberless cards to Pakistan. Our users will now be able to make online and offline digital payments in the most secure way possible.

“We are also working to bring even more innovative ideas to the market all in the pursuit of customer delight. This is just the start and we’re glad to be working with Mastercard to really explore the true potential of a financially included Pakistan,” said Brandon Timinsky, Founder and CEO of SadaPay.

Banks and financial services can develop a state-of-the-art, fully digital product through the Mastercard Digital First program. The new offering makes payments and banking instantly available to consumers through the mobile banking app including services such as instant issuing, card controls and access to a wide array of features and benefits with additional bank support delivered via chat.

SadaPay will issue virtual cards with every account that is instantly available when customers sign up. The physical teal and peach card is optional, which is free and delivered at no cost to the user.

More than 150,000 people have already signed up for early access and are eagerly waiting for their accounts. Anyone with a valid Pakistani ID card can join the waitlist for the numberless card by signing up via www.sadapay.pk/waitlist

SadaPay is now operational and in its pilot phase under supervision of the regulator. The public rollout will begin once the pilot is completed.

 

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Econet, Mastercard Collaborate On Fintech Solutions For COVID-19 Response In Africa

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The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa.

The two will also collaborate on a range of initiatives including the expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.

TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognized as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa.

Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform.

Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.

The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.

Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.

Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind.”

“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.

Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.

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FIS, Flutterwave Unite To Boost eCommerce In Nigeria, South Africa

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FIS, a financial technology company, has announced that it is expanding its payment processing capabilities into the rapidly growing markets of Nigeria, South Africa and Malaysia in continuation of its efforts at building its footprint as a global acquirer.

In South Africa and Nigeria, FIS is offering domestic payment processing services through its previously announced agreement with the payments technology company, Flutterwave, a 2016 graduate of the FIS Accelerator program.

Through its Worldpay product portfolio, FIS processes billions of transactions annually across 146 countries and more than 300 payments types in 126 currencies.

As part of its growth strategy, FIS aims to enhance its merchant acquiring a presence in additional markets,—enabling the company to offer its world-class payment services to local companies with global ambitions as well as rapidly growing enterprises looking to expand in these regions.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technology and fueled the growth of eCommerce around the world,” said Jim Johnson, Head of Merchant Solutions at FIS.

“Emerging markets across Southeast Asia and Africa present fresh opportunities for global businesses. These new markets are also home to a new generation of ambitious high-growth regional brands looking to expand their footprint. Our goal at FIS is to be a true partner to these enterprises, passporting them to success wherever in the world they want to be.”

The recently published 2021 Global Payments Report by Worldpay from FIS projected that Malaysia’s eCommerce market will increase 71 per cent by 2024, driven by mobile shopping.

Over the same period in Nigeria, online commerce via mobile devices is projected to more than double. In South Africa, the eCommerce industry is projected to be worth $9 billion by 2024 with mobile accounting for a third of the spend.

Merchants doing business in these countries will be able to take advantage of Worldpay’s advanced acquiring capabilities which include authorization, clearing and settlement, dispute management and data insights.

Merchants will also benefit from a seamless payments experience through a single point of integration—helping to increase acceptance, improve customer experience, and reduce fraud.

FIS complements its acquiring and payment processing capabilities in these countries with a growing network of regional payments consultants that provide merchants with in-country expertise, helping them tailor their payments offerings to the local audience.

In addition to Africa and Malaysia, FIS has recently added new consultants in Germany, Iberia, the Nordics, and other European locations.

“We understand that payments are personal, and merchants need a local understanding of consumer behaviour to ensure success,” Johnson said. “That’s why we continue to invest in deepening our global capabilities to support the growth of our merchants and fuel smarter commerce across the world.”

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Okra, Nigerian Fintech Platform Secures $3.5m Seed Round Led By Susa Ventures

Accenture Ventures joins Seed Round lead Susa Ventures, to invest in and expand Okra’s data infrastructure across Nigeria

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Okra Founders

Okra, a Nigerian fintech platform and Open Finance (API Economy) pioneers have secured a $3.5m Seed raise, led by US-based Susa Ventures, with participation from existing investors TLcom Capital, and newly joined Accenture Ventures.

This comes just under a year from closing its $1m pre-Seed round with only TLcom Capital participating in the round.

This latest development brings Okra’s total funding at seed to $4.5m and will be deployed to expand Okra’s data infrastructure across Nigeria.

Founded by Fara Ashiru Jituboh and David Peterside in January 2020, Okra’s Open Finance platform is the digital transformation tool for businesses in Africa and its API enables developers and businesses to build personalized digital services and fintech products for customers.

Since its launch, the fintech infrastructure company has provided its services to high calibre financial institutions, startups, and government agencies including Interswitch, Access Bank, uLesson, Aella App (YC W17) and over 100 digital-first platforms.

In just under a year from launch, the fintech infrastructure company has seen an average month-on-month API call growth of 281%. In addition, the company has analyzed 20m+ transactions and analyzed over 5.5m transaction lines in March 2021 alone.

Fara Ashiru Jituboh, Okra co-founder and CEO/CTO says, “We build the tools that businesses need to achieve full digital transformation and we are excited to be welcoming some highly strategic global investors as we scale our Open Finance-as-a-Service operations.

“The opportunities to collaborate and grow together are significant and we are now in a strong position to continue to build and scale in the African, and global API space.”

David Peterside, Okra co-founder and COO says, “The companies that will dominate the business landscape over the next decade are prioritizing a digital-first experience for their customers today — and will leverage data and personalization to win market share over time.

“We share the same vision on Open Finance in Africa and are excited to be working closely with the team at Susa. Having Accenture Ventures join us at Seed stage speaks volumes about our team’s ability to execute at a global scale.”

Leading the round, San Francisco-based Susa Ventures is known as one of the premium seed-stage funds in Silicon Valley with notable early investments including Robinhood, Flexport, Andela and Fast.

Susa is also known for co-investing with top tier firms like Peter Theil’s Founders Fund, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, GV (Google Ventures), General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz, & Accel Partners.

Susa’s General Partners include Chad Byers, who is the son of Brook Byers, a founding member of Kleiner Perkins; Leo Polovets, ex-LinkedIn and Google engineer; and Seth Berman, who was previously the VP of marketing at luxury good company Richemont (CFR:VX) — owners of Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, etc.

Seth Berman, General Partner at Susa adds, “We’re thrilled to partner with Okra as they enable developers across the African continent to transform digital financial services. We’re blown away by the quality of Okra’s team, the pace of development, and the excitement from the customers building on their API.”

Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital and Former Minister of ICT in Nigeria says,  “We have consistently been impressed with Fara’s technical depth and expertise, which when combined with the entrepreneurial acumen she and David bring to the company, leaves us confident that they are building Africa’s most stable and robust API infrastructure. TLcom is delighted to continue partnering with Okra.”

Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security also participates in this round.

Tom Lounibos, Managing Director, Accenture Ventures added, “Fara and David have a compelling vision and value proposition, and we believe Okra’s powerful technology can address critical challenges in the African financial market. We look forward to working together to help Okra scale its solutions for maximum impact.”

Beyond Susa and Accenture Ventures, Okra brought on three super angels to this round- Rob Solomon; Chairman at GoFundMe — he is also a former Partner at Accel; Arpan Shah, Founding engineer and ex-Head of Data Platforms/Data products at Robinhood; and Hongxia Zhong, Founding engineer and ex-Senior engineering manager at Robinhood.

Consumer behaviour in Africa is changing and consumers are demanding full digital experiences of all services — including financial services.

Across the business landscape, the number one priority across every board room is digital transformation and Okra is the go-to platform for developers and businesses to build end-to-end personalized digital experiences for consumers in Africa.

 

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