On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Visa officially launched its mobile payment platform, mVisa, in Nigeria. The launch took place at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos with several journalists and bloggers present.

The mVisa platform is designed for both smartphone and feature phone users, an attempt by Visa to promote financial inclusivity. To make a purchase, smartphone users will scan a QR code available at the point of sales and then input the amount to be deducted. After sanctioning the sale, the merchant will be immediately notified of the completed transaction. Feature phone users will be able to do this using USSD codes.

One of the major barriers to the progress of mobile payment in Nigeria is the general lack of trust and misunderstanding of electronic payment systems. Apart from making cash withdrawals at the ATM, many Nigerians don’t use their debit cards for much else. As at January 2016, according to Ope Adeoye, there were only 200,000 active cards in Nigeria “as opposed to 97 million internet users.” The challenge here is getting people to trust the process enough to become less reliant on cash and embrace trust electronic transactions. And to do that, the consumer has to feel more in control of the process and their money. This, according to Visa’s representatives, was part of the logic behind mVisa.

During his presentation, Andrew Torre, Visa’s President of sub-Saharan Africa, emphasised the ease of setting up the mVisa payment system for merchants, no longer do they have to worry about spending $400 on POS systems. Furthermore, mVisa eliminates transaction fees, just as the plastic Visa card does, so the customer does not have to spend more than the actual total of the goods they want to purchase.

The mVisa implementation in Nigeria has benefited from the Visa Developer Platform, which allows all partner banks integrate the mVisa APIs directly into their mobile banking apps. Visa has already partnered with Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, and First Bank to include its service on their mobile apps, with Access Bank, Ecobank, UBA, and Zenith Bank to come onboard soon.

DStv, Genesis Cinemas, Spar, and Hard Rock Cafe are some of the merchants that have already adopted mVisa.

After launching in Nigeria today, and in Kenya last week, mVisa is now available in five countries – including Rwanda, Egypt, and India – with plans to spread out across Africa.

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