Visa buys SA mobile payments company

15 June 2011

Global payments company Visa is to acquire Cape Town-based Fundamo, a leading platform provider for mobile financial services in developing countries, for US$110-million.

Fundamo, which is a combination of the words “fundamentally mobile”, is owned by a group of South African investors including Sanlam, investment firm Remgro, and HBD Venture Capital, an investment conglomerate founded by billionaire Mark Shuttleworth.

It has more than 50 active mobile financial services deployments across more than 40 countries, including 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Fundamo’s platform enables the delivery of mobile financial services to unbanked and under-banked consumers around the world, including person-to-person payment, airtime top-up, bill payment and branchless banking services.

Convenient, secure transactions

The combined Visa Fundamo platform will add enhanced functionality and new services to existing mobile financial services subscribers across Africa, Asia and Latin America for safe, reliable and globally accepted payments solutions.

Mobile prepaid payments provide affordable, convenient and secure transaction capabilities that are transformational to the lives of merchants and consumers in those regions.

“Combining Visa’s unparalleled network scale, global reach, extensive product suite and established financial institution relationships with Fundamo’s expertise in delivering mobile financial services in developing economies presents us with an important long-term opportunity to grow our business and drive financial inclusion in key geographic markets,” Visa CEO Joseph Saunders said in a statement last week.

“We are pleased to add Fundamo’s industry leading technology solutions to our portfolio.”

High standards for security, reliability

Fundamo’s deployments currently have a base of more than five-million registered subscribers and the potential to reach more than 180-million consumers with mobile financial services.

The Fundamo management team will continue to manage current and future Fundamo implementations as valuable members of Visa’s mobile product organisation.

“Mobile network operators and financial institutions will now be able to take advantage of Fundamo’s trusted mobile financial services platform backed by Visa’s high standards for security, reliability and scale,” said Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg.

SAinfo reporter

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