MasterCard Mobile comes to South Africa

24 April 2012

MasterCard has partnered with local mobile-centric financial services company Oltio to bring MasterCard Mobile to the South African market, expanding the platform for online shopping in the country.

MasterCard Mobile lets MasterCard and Maestro cardholders make online purchases using their mobile phones. Consumers can use the platform to make secure online purchases with their PIN-based debit, cheque or credit cards by linking these to their mobile phones.

“It’s a convenient and cost-effective payment mechanism that doesn’t require customers to open yet another bank account,” Oltio CEO Terry Timson said in a statement last week.

To use the service, cardholders must select the MasterCard Mobile option on participating e-commerce sites. First-time users will be prompted to register their cards and their mobile phone numbers on a secure site.

Thereafter, the cardholder’s mobile phone number is used to initiate payments, which the cardholder authorises by entering their PINs into their mobile phones.

Online shopping on the increase

According to the latest MasterCard Worldwide online shopping survey, released last week, online shopping has increased significantly in South Africa and continues to show potential for growth.

Fifty-eight percent of South Africans surveyed said they used the internet for shopping, with price, convenience and security being the key factors they considered when purchasing online.

The MasterCard Mobile solution “provides another secure and convenient payment platform for these consumers, and those who have previously been unable to use their Maestro debit card online,” said Anna Jones, division president at MasterCard Worldwide in South Africa.

‘Greater peace of mind’

Jones said the platform would give users peace of mind because they no longer needed to share their card details with online retailers. The information would be securely held by MasterCard Mobile, which would verify and conclude the consumer’s payments.

“The MasterCard Mobile solution does not levy any additional fees to the cardholder and, unlike EFTs, the payment is made instantly,” Jones added.

The company said MasterCard Mobile was currently being piloted, with a view to rolling the platform out to most local e-commerce sites in the near future. The platform is also being used for MTN airtime purchases.

The mobile solution can also enable person-to-person money transfers, and can be used at offline stores that are MasterCard Mobile-enabled, according to the company. However, this service is not yet available in South Africa.

SAinfo reporter