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MTN Group, a leading telecommunications provider in Africa and the Middle East, plans to offer the new Visa product to MTN Mobile Money customers across its markets. As part of the launch, the new product will be available to customers in Nigeria and Uganda.

Today, more than one hundred mobile money programs provide consumers in developing countries with basic financial services, with several more being planned by mobile network operators and financial institutions. Visa’s new product will enhance the security, scale and interoperability of these mobile money programs, while extending their payment functionality by enabling 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.

“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. “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.”

MTN Mobile Money has been implemented in 12 countries. At 30 September 2011, there were 5.7 million registered mobile money customers.

“The launch of this product with Visa doesn’t only enhance our current mobile money offering, but also represents yet another crucial milestone in our journey to bring value-adding services to the growing population of mobile phone users in our markets. And as the appetite for mobile technology grows, MTN is excited to be at the forefront of providing millions of our customers with such important product innovations,” said Christian de Faria, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer.

How It Works
The mobile phone is changing how consumers around the world pay and get paid, and offers financial service providers in developing countries a new, efficient channel to serve the unbanked and under-banked. In the last ten years, 100 million(2) people have been newly ‘banked’ through mobile services that offer consumers basic financial services that are limited in geographic reach

Visa’s recent acquisition of Fundamo, a leading mobile money platform in developing countries, and its integration into Visa, has created the first globally interoperable mobile payment platform that can connect existing mobile money services with Visa’s global payment network, VisaNet.

The result is a new Visa product that allows financial service providers and mobile network operators to offer consumers a payment account that provides Visa’s high standards of security, reliability and global interoperability, including:

Visa-quality Payment Security – The new product combines Visa’s advanced risk processing technology with the security and authentication features of mobile devices, offering consumers in developing countries peace of mind when making purchases. Regardless of transaction size or where consumers make purchases, Visa and the account issuer will be able to authenticate the account holder at the point of transaction by requesting a PIN or password. In addition, Visa’s fraud monitoring capabilities can help mitigate and prevent fraud.

Visa Payment Functionality – From international remittances to ecommerce transactions Visa’s new product will offer consumers a new payment account that enhances the payment functionality of their existing mobile money service.