MasterCard increases points of access across Africa

Ecobank's Patrick Akinwutan and MasterCard's Daniel Monehin. MasterCard will ride on Ecobank's pan-African footprint to give cardholders more convenient, secure and reliable ways to pay their bills

MasterCard cardholders can now access Ecobank’s ATMs and Point of Sale terminals in 28 African countries, significantly boosting card acceptance on the continent using their prepaid debit and credit cards.

This is a culmination of the multi-country licensing agreement signed by MasterCard and Ecobank in January 2014 and gives MasterCard cardholders’ access to more than 2,500 ATMs that allows them to pay for goods and services in over 20,000 shops, hotels, restaurants and other outlets across Africa.

“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,” said Daniel Monehin, MasterCard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Monehin said the partnership had combined MasterCard’s global payment technology with Ecobank’s pan-African footprint to give cardholders more convenient, secure and reliable ways to pay their bills

Ecobank subsidiaries now accept MasterCard-branded cards in 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 partnership forms part of our broader retail banking strategy of providing Ecobank customers with enhanced service levels, which exceed their expectations,” said Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Head of Domestic Bank.

The bank’s platform gives customers easy access to their accounts when travelling for 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 realise the benefits of a cashless society like increased transparency, cost effectiveness, financial inclusion, foreign investment and economic growth.

The increased number of MasterCard acceptance locations in Africa means 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.

MasterCard and Ecobank are also exploring joint business development opportunities across West, Central, East and Southern Africa and will soon add Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe and South Sudan to African markets already accepting MasterCard-branded cards.
Under the licensing agreement, Ecobank will also distribute MasterCard products through its nearly 1,300 branches, giving the bank’s customers access to millions of MasterCard acceptance points in over 210 countries worldwide.