Sequel to a multi-country licensing agreement made between MasterCard and Ecobank in January, both institutions have signed another deal that will see the use of MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards at Ecobank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in 28 African countries.

Both institutions are excited about this new opportunity which allows cardholders from the former to transact with some 2,500 ATMs and also make purchases in over 20,000 outlets across Africa including shops, hotels, and restaurants.

In a statement, MasterCard said: “Expanding MasterCard’s acceptance in 28 countries across Ecobank’s network is a significant milestone for us as we work together to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments and create a cashless society in Africa. This partnership has combined MasterCard’s global payment technology with Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African footprint to give their cardholders more convenient, secure and reliable ways to pay.

Listing the 28 countries where this partnership was valid, the statement added: “With this partnership, Ecobank subsidiaries now accept MasterCard-branded cards in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

Ecobank’s Group Executive/Head of Domestic Bank, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, accepted the new partnership as a timely deal given the increasing affinity for card usage all over the continent as more governments see the benefits in a cashless economy.

“This partnership forms part of our broader retail banking strategy of providing Ecobank customers with enhanced service levels, which exceed their expectations. Our unique platform gives our customers easy access to their Ecobank accounts when travelling, be it on business or for pleasure, without the need for carrying cash,” he said.

“The combination of a rapidly expanding middle class and steadily improving financial literacy, supported by robust technology, is increasing the appetite for card usage in Africa. Governments are rapidly driving the conversion from cash to electronic payments as they too realize the benefits of a cashless society, namely increased transparency, cost effectiveness, financial inclusion, foreign investment and economic growth. This is especially important in many African countries where cash has been the prevalent or only payment option”, he added.

A further four African markets may be added to this first batch once additional business development opportunities are harvested, they include Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe and South Sudan.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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