Standard Chartered (StanChart), MasterCard and
Airtel Africa have come together to launch a virtual payments card
that operates via a mobile wallet.

The virtual payments card known as PayOnline
is linked to Airtel’s m-banking offering – Airtel money – and will
be available in Kenya initially; the single use shopping card will
then be made rolled out across other markets in Africa.

Registered Airtel customers in Africa will be
able to make online purchases from any website where MasterCard is
accepted. The one-time basis of the product aims to provide the
consumer with a simple but secure payment process.

Chief projects and transformation officer for Airtel Africa, N
Arjun, said, “It’s just like having a payment card on your mobile
phone that you can use for online purchases, offering consumers
high levels of security, accessibility, acceptance, and a global

“The sustained socio-economic changes
witnessed in Africa over the last decade have shown that the
continent has the ability to leapfrog conventional systems and
embrace innovations on platforms such as the mobile phone.”

Airtel customers will be able to request a
one-time virtual card number with the amount of purchase. A unique
16-digit number, generated by the Airtel money services platform,
will enable the completion of the transaction. Finally, a
confirmation message will be sent to the consumer’s handset.

Customers can purchase items online, which are
quoted in Euro, USD or Sterling, and will be charged a fixed
transaction fee of KES50 ($0.50) for each PayOnline number
generated. This fee will be deducted from the customer’s Airtel
Money account.

The PayOnline number generated, however, has
to be used within the first 24 hours for the purchase to be
authorised. The maximum limit is KES 35,000 per transaction and KES
70,000 per day. The transaction limit is likely to be increased at
a later stage.

Kariuki Ngari, executive director Kenya, and
cluster head, East Africa consumer banking for StanChart, said
PayOnline solution is a “unique way of ensuring that our customers
can transact in the digital world for the first time” without
having to have a credit card or use their physical debit card.

Daniel Monehin, MasterCard’s area head for
East and West Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, said, the initiative
is a step towards “promoting the advantages of electronic payments”
and “accelerate the displacement of cash and cheques in Kenya.”

PayOnline is compatible with all mobile phones
and operating systems via a configured update from Airtel customer
service. PayOnline is aimed at giving consumers across Africa
greater financial inclusivity in the global e-commerce sector.