African SMEs can now expand into new markets using the Masterpass QR bot

Mastercard plans to drive affordable acceptance of electronic and mobile payments for SMEs in Africa and Asia, as it launches Masterpass QR bot using Facebook Messenger.

On the QR bot-messenger experience launch taking place in Nigeria, Jorn Lambert, executive vice president, Digital Channels and Regions, Mastercard said “Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have.”

Lambert also added that “Masterpass QR opens up new commerce channels for these merchants and enables them to create auditable transaction records. These advances open doors to other financial tools and products such as loans to drive added business growth.”

Considering the research by The Fletcher School and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, which revealed that 98 percent of the $301 billion funds flows from consumers to businesses in Nigeria are still based on cash, Masterpass QR bot looks to include more businesses into the digital economy with its assistance that goes beyond cash transactions to accepting QR payments.

Zenith bank and Ecobank are keying into the new QR bot which promises expansion to new markets and keys to unlocking financial services and products that would enable business to grow their livelihoods.

Confirming Ecobanks participation, Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive for Ecobank Group said “In line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by the end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable underserved and unbanked micro-merchants with the opportunity to open an Ecobank account almost immediately and begin to receive instant payments using Ecobank Masterpass QR on the Facebook Messenger platform. Micro merchants in Nigeria are already benefiting from Masterpass QR and will soon be in 32 markets across Africa, enabling them to move away from cash. That is true economic empowerment.”

Commenting on Facebook as a medium through which QR bot would operate, Kahina Van Dyke, director of Payments and Financial Services Partnerships at Facebook said, “Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month, and we are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger Platform to help small merchants use messaging to manage their business and connect with their customers.”

HOW TO USE MASTERPASS QR bot

To begin the experience, businesses are required to send a request to the bot to enable QR payments, after which they are to receive an approval from the bank, set up an account and they are all set to start accepting digital payments in a fast, simple and secure manner.

Once the account set up process is complete, business owners can print and display the QR code in their stores or save the code on their phones.

For payments, customers can either pay by scanning the code from their smartphones or by entering the merchant ID associated with the QR code into their feature phone.