November 18, 2011

Visa announced it is offering a prepaid mobile product designed to serve the underbanked in developing countries.

The product is a prepaid account that allows users to access funds through a mobile phone to make electronic payments.

The product will be offered by MTN Mobile money to its customers. MTN Mobile Money is a part of MTN Group, a telecommunications provider in Africa and the Middle East. MTN Mobile Money has been implemented in 12 countries and has 5.7 million registered customers.

It will enable its account holders to send funds to each other, send and receive international remittances, make purchases at merchants or online where Visa is accepted or withdraw funds at a Visa ATM, said the company.

"Reaching consumers who have previously lacked access to formal financial services with secure and reliable electronic payments is finally a reality," said Jim McCarthy, head of product for Visa Inc, in the announcement. "Mobile technology has become the single most important driver of financial inclusion that is enabling financial institutions, mobile network operators and Visa to connect unbanked consumers to each other and the global economy."

The product is enabled by Fundamo, a mobile money platform in developing countries that was acquired by Visa and integrated into its product.

Developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America are among the first target markets for the new product, Visa said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...