Mastercard has purchased mobile payments technology company Oltio from South Africa’s Standard Bank.
The acquisition will enable Mastercard build on its relationship with Oltio which is currently used to authenticate Masterpass digital wallet purchases in South Africa using a consumer’s bank PIN and mobile phone.
Mastercard said over the coming months it will leverage Oltio’s technology, people and infrastructure to enhance and scale its existing suite of digital solutions for merchants and issuers in cash-orientated, emerging markets.
By further using Oltio’s platform, issuers will benefit from added functionality including person-to-person payments, bill payments, and airtime top-ups, which they can integrate into their existing mobile banking applications.
“Too many consumers and merchants in the MEA region are stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them,” says Mark Elliott, division president for Mastercard, Southern Africa. “By combining our joint expertise, technologies and reach, we can bridge the divide between the region’s cash economies and the digital future, bringing the benefits of digital payments to more people and businesses.”
For merchants, Mastercard said it will enhance and scale its omni-channel acceptance solutions, enabling small businesses to accept digital payments using efficient and affordable technology, such as Quick Response (QR) codes.
Earlier this year, Mastercard committed to guaranteeing that all of its customers will have access to biometric authentication services by April 2019. The company said that everyone of its consumers will be able to identify themselves with biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition, when they shop and pay with Mastercard. Banks issuing Mastercard-branded cards will have to be able to offer biometric authentication for remote transactions, alongside existing PIN and password verification.
This came weeks after it announced the latest 11 companies to join its Start Path, a program aimed to support later-stage FinTechs across the globe. The payments processor launched the program in early 2014 to provide operational support, commercial access and strategic investment for startups who are building innovative solutions in financial services and commerce.
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