Visa Introduces Mobile-Money Product to Rival Safaricom’s M-Pesa

Visa Inc., the world’s largest payments network, introduced a mobile-phone application to enable cashless transactions in Kenya, where the majority of wireless payments are being done through the nation’s biggest telecommunications company, Safaricom Ltd.

The mVisa app will initially facilitate transactions for people with accounts in four banks, including KCB Group Ltd. and Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd., according to Visa Emerging Markets Senior Vice President Uttam Nayak. The company estimates 84 million of Africa’s mobile-phone users still pay by cash.

“Those can be converted overnight,” Nayak said in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Users of mVisa will make payments by scanning a unique merchant Quick Response, or QR, code using their smart phones. About 1,500 merchants have up signed up and more banks will be on board later this year.

The company launched the payments application in India in 2015 in partnership with seven banks, including the State Bank of India, and 30,000 merchants have signed up. Visa is in talks to roll out in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda within two months, and in Nigeria by end-2016.