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Zambians – Both Banked and Unbanked – Can Make Global eCommerce Payments

Airtel Money has capitalised on the growing demand for digital payments seen all across the world, as it launches its Airtel Money Mastercard virtual payment solution in Zambia. This allows its customers in the country to make global eCommerce payments, even if they don’t have a bank account.

This forms part of Airtel Africa’s strategic partnership with Mastercard to give over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to Mastercard’s global network.

The virtual (non-plastic, non-physical) payment solution is linked to Airtel Money wallets and can be used to make a wide range of payments to online merchants that accept Mastercard. These include Netflix, Uber, Amazon, Google, Aliexpress and Alibaba. Customers can be assured that their financial data is always secure and private.

Users in Zambia can shop at well-known global eCommerce brands, book and pay for travel, or pay for online services such as utility bills or subscriptions through Mastercard on Airtel Money wallets. The payment solution will also enable small businesses to procure goods and services from suppliers, either in Zambia or from abroad that accept Mastercard for payments.

With its easy-to-use function, customers need to add items to their online shopping cart and complete the required card payment details on the merchant’s website to complete their payment transaction.

The Mastercard payment offering supports Airtel Money’s strategy that focuses on offering customers across the continent a range of products and services to enable more efficient and seamless payments online, boosting financial inclusion.

Comments on the launch

Airtel Money Director in Zambia, James Chona said, “At Airtel, we are continually looking at new ways to add value and create an enhanced customer experience for our customers using our products and services. Mastercard is a leading technology company in the global payments industry, and with the Mastercard virtual payment solution added to Airtel Money wallets, customers will find making digital payments easier.”

The initiative with Airtel Money customers plays a key role in advancing Mastercard’s worldwide commitment to financial inclusion and Mastercard’s pledge to bring a total of 1 billion people, 50 million micro and small businesses, and 25 million women entrepreneurs into the digital economy by 2025.

Ngozi Megwa, Senior Vice President for Digital Partnerships, Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said: “Our digital partnerships strategy remains focused on enabling the digital transformation of our partners so that their customers can enjoy seamless access to a global payments eco-system with a superior user experience. Mastercard is uniquely positioned as a single technology provider to enable the digital transformation of our partners like Airtel, while connecting over 3.5 million Airtel Zambia consumers, as reported in June 2021, to the global digital economy.”

The solution will meet the demand for Zambian consumers who want greater access to eCommerce, as mobile internet connections accelerate due to the low cost of smartphones and high-speed GSM networks being rolled out by Mobile Network Operators like Airtel. Leveraging Mastercard’s global network, consumers – even those who are unbanked – can now access a world of digital products from the device in their pockets – their mobile phones.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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