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Standard Chartered launches world's first virtual shopping card on a mobile phone
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Standard Chartered launches world's first virtual shopping card on a mobile phone

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Standard Chartered adds another milestone to its mobile banking offering with the introduction of the world’s first virtual shopping card on a mobile phone.

The latest mobile innovation - the result of a partnership between Airtel Africa, MasterCard International and Standard Chartered - will enable airtel money subscribers in Kenya to buy products online for the first time. The service reiterates the important role both banks and telecommunications can play in society, providing the infrastructure needed to improve access to an under-banked population.

PayOnline allows customers of airtel money to buy goods from a wide range of Master Card merchants online, without needing a debit or credit card. Using funds from their “mobile wallets,” they can request a single use card number. The number expires 24 hours if not used, protecting customers against online phishing, making this arguably the safest method to shop online. Currently exclusive to airtel money customers in Kenya, the virtual card is expected to launch in other African markets.

A growth industry in Kenya and the rest of Africa, mobile banking has increased access to finance for millions of people. Kenyans have embraced mobile innovation and in return it has reshaped the way its population buys goods and services. The country has become a pioneering market for new products and services and an example of what might work in other countries. This includes airtel money (formerly Zap), a mobile payment system run by airtel in partnership with Standard Chartered, which allows its customers to deposit, transfer and withdraw money using their handsets. airtel money also enables transfers between subscribers as payment for goods and services or in-country remittances. The service is used by over 20 million people and has increased access to finance in Africa, where only one in five has access to a bank account.

Standard Chartered’s mobile banking is available in 32 countries and territories. Last year the Bank launched Breeze, its iPhone banking application, in Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. Standard Chartered has extended its mobile banking services to its corporate clients through Straight2Bank Mobile. This smart phone application allows its clients to authorise payments and authorise trade transactions.

Mobile payments are dependent on a strong collaboration between mobile operators and banks. While operators provide the consumer interface, the network and the phone technology, banks bring the regulatory assurance framework and infrastructure needed to hold deposits and help protect customers against fraud and financial crime.

Janardhan Cadambi, Global Head, Retail Banking Products & Consumer Finance at Standard Chartered said, “Most of the countries where we operate are emerging markets and largely cash economies and an increasing proportion of that cash is likely to become digitised, in the form of virtual cash on mobile phones. Working with market leaders like MasterCard and Airtel Africa, we aim to provide state-of-the-art banking services that meet the changing needs of customers and enable access to finance for millions of people not just in Kenya but in all our markets.”











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