In March, Mastercard, one of the biggest names in the global payment industry partnered with Selcom, one of Tanzania’s leading fine charity companies, to expand its mobile payment solution, Masterpass QR, across Tanzania. Now both have signed a seven-year strategic partnership agreement to introduce a more diverse range of payment solutions in the country.

With Mastercard having already gained access to Selcom’s established network of merchants in Tanzania, this latest agreement by the duo will further give businesses and financial institutions more payment solutions, thus advancing the country’s goal of becoming a cashless economy.

The new agreement will enable Tanzanians conduct transactions more conveniently, quickly and securely at more payment acceptance locations with Selcom’s 17,000 point-of-sale terminals and extensive ATM network now being able to accept both local and international Mastercard card transactions. Customers of over twenty banks and mobile network providers already connected to Selcom will have access to a number of payment solutions including virtual cards for safe online purchases and Mastercard debit and prepaid cards.

According to Sameer Hirji, Executive Director of Selcom, Tanzanians particularly have an appetite for mobile digital payment. And with over 40 million mobile phone subscribers last year, there is great potential to create and scale innovative solutions in digital payments. Not to mention the large amount of SMEs the roll-out of Masterpass QR earlier on, will empower by facilitating operational efficiencies.

Raghav Prasad, Division President of Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa, said both companies aim to build a stronger payment ecosystem in order to narrow the gap and ensure Tanzanians have access to relevant financial tools. “Our partnership will strengthen key areas of the economy, thus better-equipping businesses and consumers to replace cash with secure and convenient payment options, whether they be on mobile or card solutions. It is not a one size fits all approach,” said Prasad.

Given Tanzania’s high rate of mobile money account usage, Selcom will introduce a Mastercard card linked to a mobile wallet, which will give the user the ability to conduct digital transactions in-store. Additionally, in an effort to support online payments, merchants will gain access to the Mastercard Payments Gateway Services platform, which helps e-retailers to accept payments for web purchase both from local and international users, further expanding the options for consumers on how they wish to make purchases.

“We are committed to supporting local business growth by delivering meaningful connections, relevant technology and by driving economic efficiencies. It is for this reason, that our partnership with Mastercard is so vital to the growth of Tanzania. Our collaboration is helping us achieve our goals of connecting and digitizing the payments ecosystem in Tanzania,” said Hirji.

Going cashless expands financial inclusion via better savings mobilization for investments and consumption. And as of two years ago, an estimated 46 percent of Tanzania’s population were not financially included. Mastercard and Selcoms collaboration and expansion will significantly advance financial inclusivity in the east African country.

According to Prasad, “Cash is inefficient and presents risks to both business owners and consumers, additionally, it puts a costly burden on the local economy as cash is expensive to transport and handle. Digital payment solutions not only make consumers’ and merchants’ lives easier, but they also support the local economy’s growth.”

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