Telkom SA and fintech Ukheshe partner to launch virtual card for transactions through WhatsApp

SOUTH AFRICA – Telecommunications company Telkom SA has launched what it calls Africa’s first Mastercard virtual card for use on WhatsApp, enabling Telkom Pay customers to make e-commerce payments.

According to the integrated telecommunications company, this move is expected to empower millions of South African customers even those without a bank account – to access the digital economy and transact online.

Launched in 2020, Telkom Pay is a digital payments wallet that enables its users to make and receive payments using WhatsApp on their mobile phone.

With the addition of the Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) card to the wallet, users can now make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard, including Uber and Netflix, says Telkom.

“We are proud to lead the way in launching the first virtual card through WhatsApp on the continent. This ensures greater financial inclusion through affordable products and services that cater to everyone and are easily accessible through a mobile device at any time,” Telkom managing executive for financial services Sibusiso Ngwenya said.

The telco’s decision to bring virtual cards into its Telkom Pay WhatsApp service is a result of close collaboration with Mastercard, Nedbank and fintech enablement partner Ukheshe Technologies.

“This digital-first solution bridges the divide by giving consumers instant access to a virtual payment solution through WhatsApp, without compromising the safety and security of transactions”

Sibusiso Ngwenya – Managing Executive for Financial Services, Telkom

Suzanne Morel, country manager for Mastercard South Africa, said the expansion of Telkom Pay’s services is an important step forward in improving access to the digital economy.

“South Africans are increasingly shopping online, yet many people are left out as they lack the financial tools needed for e-commerce. This digital-first solution bridges the divide by giving consumers instant access to a virtual payment solution through WhatsApp, without compromising the safety and security of transactions. Together with our partners, we are helping more people to benefit from the choice and flexibility that a growing, inclusive digital economy brings.”

Telkom’s Mastercard virtual card for WhatsApp gives customers the flexibility to shop safely and conveniently using just their smartphone and the Telkom Pay app, says the telco.

It noted that customers simply create a virtual card on their profile, link it to their digital wallet and transfer funds from their wallet to the card and to pay for purchases, users receive a virtual prepaid card, including a 16-digit card number, security code and expiry date, which they use to complete an online purchase much like they would with a physical card.

The virtual card solution is stored on the Telkom Pay app and customers can temporarily block, cancel, or replace their card via the app, providing them with additional security and control.

On his part, Clayton Hayward, CEO of Ukheshe, said “We are thrilled to assist Telkom in making new, innovative products possible, and look forward to continuing our journey of supporting clients in their efforts to offer cutting-edge payment solutions to people who need them most.”

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