By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Ecobank Transnational Inc. has announced that it has extended MasterCard acceptance to 28 African countries across all Ecobank’s network.
According to the pan-African bank consumers can now use their MasterCard prepaid, debit and credit cards at Ecobank’s ATMs and Point of Sale terminals in 28 African countries.
The 28 countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This is as a result of boosting card acceptance on the continent and also making sure that the continent emblazes cashless society.
The two party signed the multi-country licensing agreement in January 2014 to gives MasterCard cardholders access to more than 2,500 ATMs and allows them to pay for goods and services in over 20,000 shops, hotels, restaurants and other outlets across Africa.
Under the licensing agreement, the pan-African bank will also distribute MasterCard products through its nearly 1,300 branches, giving Ecobank’s customers access to millions of MasterCard acceptance points in over 210 countries worldwide.
Mr. Daniel Monehin, MasterCard Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa said “expanding MasterCard’s acceptance in 28 countries across Ecobank’s network is a significant milestone for us as we work together to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments and create a cashless society in Africa,” adding that “through this partnership, we have combined MasterCard's global payment technology with Ecobank’s unrivalled pan-African footprint to give our cardholders more convenient, secure and reliable ways to pay.”
“The increased number of MasterCard acceptance locations in Africa means that more cardholders and merchants will be introduced to the security and convenience of electronic payments, while enjoying protection from the risks and costs associated with cash. This is especially important in many African countries where cash has been the prevalent or only payment option,” said Monehin.
Meanwhile, Ecobank’s Group Executive and Head of Domestic Bank Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan explained that “this partnership forms part of our broader retail banking strategy of providing Ecobank customers with enhanced service levels, which exceed their expectations.”
He said their unique platform gives their customers easy access to their Ecobank accounts when travelling, be it on business or for pleasure, without the need for carrying cash.
The combination of a rapidly expanding middle class and steadily improving financial literacy, supported by robust technology, is increasing the appetite for card usage in Africa. Governments are rapidly driving the conversion from cash to electronic payments as they too realize the benefits of a cashless society, namely increased transparency, cost effectiveness, financial inclusion, foreign investment and economic growth.
MasterCard and Ecobank are also exploring joint business development opportunities across West, Central, East and Southern Africa and will soon add a further four African markets to those already accepting MasterCard-branded cards, namely Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe and South Sudan.