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Ecobank partners Facebook, Mastercard to enable digital payments for small businesses

Ayodele Olalere

One of Nigeria’s foremost banks, Ecobank, has entered into a strategic partnership with Facebook and Mastercard to deliver seamless, digital payments to small businesses via the Facebook Messenger platform.
With this development, the bank will be able to receive instant payments using the QR technology. 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.
Commenting on the partnership in Lagos, Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), said this initiative is in line with the bank’s financial inclusion strategy to reach the under-served and unbanked in the society. He noted that the partnership will further position Ecobank as a major enabler of digital payments across Africa and reinforce its goal to serve 100 million Africans by 2020.
“In line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable under-served and unbanked micro-merchants have the opportunity to open an Ecobank Xpress account within minutes and begin to receive instant payments using Ecobank Masterpass on the Facebook Messenger platform,” Akinwuntan said.
He explained that under the arrangement, the Bank’s merchants will be empowered to receive customised QR code which they can share with their contacts and customers for easy and secure payments.
“Millions of micro-merchants in Nigeria and soon in 32 other countries within our pan-African network will now become financially included and operate in a cashless manner. That is true economic empowerment.
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.
“Masterpass QR opens up new commerce channels for these merchants and enables them to create auditable transaction records. This advances open doors to other financial tools and products such as loans to drive added business growth.”
“Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month,” said Kahina Van Dyke, director of Payments and Financial Services Partnerships at Facebook. “We are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger Platform to help small merchants use messaging to manage their business and connect with their customers.”
Ecobank has been spearheading several initiatives to deliver digital payments across Africa. With approximately 3million downloads of its mobile app, the bank is positioned to financially include more Africans digitally. It will be recalled that Ecobank recently won the Euromoney Digital Bank of the Year award.

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