Vodacom deployed prepaid bank cards supplied by French vendor Gemalto to work alongside its M-Pesa mobile wallet service in South Africa.
The Visa card is certified by major international payment schemes and accepted at 240,000 EMV-compliant payment terminals and over 27,000 ATMs throughout the country, “which will significantly extend the reach of the South African operator’s services,” according to Gemalto.
The vendor also claims Vodacom is the first operator with a large-scale rollout of an EMV banking card that is accepted anywhere.
The card links to M-Pesa accounts, and gives users the freedom to make payments for goods and services without the need to carry cash.
The card is available at 8,000 Vodacom agents and enrollment with the company’s secure system is a quick process. Users can check current balances via the mobile wallet app and receive SMS alerts when funds are running low.
Furthermore, because it is a PIN-protected virtual account, the user’s credit remains safe even if the card is lost or stolen.
According to Herman Singh, Managing Executive of m-commerce at Vodacom, “By expanding our M-Pesa mobile wallet offering with the banking card, we’ve been able to add an entirely new level of functionality which we think is critical to the success of M-Pesa in South Africa.”
In December Vodacom, which relaunched M-Pesa in South Africa last summer, was talking to local companies — both big and small — about using the money service for paying salaries to their workers.
Earlier on in September, the company had said it is looking to double the number of users on its M-Pesa mobile money service outside its home market by 2017.