Mastercard, Facebook launch Masterpass QR bot for Messenger to drive digital financial inclusion

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Mastercard has partnered with Facebook Messenger to launch Masterpass QR bot for Messenger to provide technology to small businesses in Africa and Asia driving affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments.

Facebook Messenger has an average of 1.3 billion users monthly and with Mastercard developing a service on the Messenger Platform, access to digital payments will help these businesses expand to new markets, and unlock financial services and products that enables them to grow their livelihoods.

“Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” said Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Channels and Regions, Mastercard.

This Messenger experience will launch in Nigeria, where Mastercard will pilot a new Masterpass QR bot to help business owners’ move beyond cash transactions to accepting QR payments.

“Masterpass QR opens up new commerce channels for these merchants and enables them to create auditable transaction records. These advances open doors to other financial tools and products such as loans to drive added business growth,” added Lambert.

Ecobank and Zenith Bank will support this inaugural program. The pilot in Nigeria is the beginning of a larger plan by the two companies to include more businesses into the digital economy.

“In line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by the end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable underserved and unbanked micro-merchants with the opportunity. Micro merchants in Nigeria are already benefiting from Masterpass QR and will soon be in 32 markets across Africa, enabling them to move away from cash. That is true economic empowerment,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Bank, Ecobank Group.

“This initiative will help us encourage financial inclusion within the country in line with the strategic thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Buyers and sellers now meet and conclude transactions in-store, online and on social media, so we are ensuring payments can also be made on these platforms via QR codes, without having to log onto other solutions or even take a break from what you are doing on Facebook,” added Mr. Peter Amangbo, MD/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc.

According to research done by The Fletcher School and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, of the $301 billion of funds flow from consumers to businesses in Nigeria, 98 percent is still based on cash.

To get started, businesses can send a request to the bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the bank, set up an account and start accepting digital payments in a fast, simple and secure manner. Once the account set up process is complete, business owners can print and display the QR code in their stores or save the code on their phones. Customers can pay by either scanning the code from their smartphone or by entering the merchant ID associated with the QR code into their feature phone.

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