As part a multicountry agreement between Ecobank Group and MasterCard, the pan-African bank will distribute thousands of mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) devices to retailers in selected African countries.
MPoS devices extend Ecobank’s coverage by allowing merchants to process MasterCard payment card transactions by connecting their smartphone or tablet to a card reader.
MPoS has been popularised among small businesses in the US by Square and by a number of vendors in Europe, including iZettle, Payleven and MPowa. And card readers have also been launched in India. Such devices are thought to be less popular in Africa.
This is not Ecobank’s first excursion into mobile payments. Earlier this year, the bank struck a deal with Orange whereby users can transfer funds between their mobile money and bank accounts.
Ecobank’s agreement with MasterCard is the follow-up to a licensing deal signed in January 2014, and will see the bank issue debit, prepaid and credit cards to “millions” of customers over the next ten years in more than 30 sub-Saharan African markets. The mPoS rollout is part of this wider link-up. Ecobank Nigeria, its largest subsidiary, began large-scale issuing of MasterCard cards in April 2014.