Visa Launches mVisa: A New Mobile Payment Service to Take on M-Pesa

Payments heavyweight Visa has just launched a mobile payments solution in a bid to shake up the competition in the profitable money transfer industry, which is currently dominated by Safaricomm’s M-Pesa. The solution, called mVisa, is a new mobile payment service that will accelerate digital commerce in Kenya and across Africa. Visa has partnered with four banks – Co-Operative Bank, Family Bank, KCB, and NIC Bank – as part of its initial rollout.

With this new solution, users can directly access all of the funds in their bank accounts to pay merchants or individuals. Because the transaction runs through the Visa network, the consumers and merchants do not need to be customers of the same bank or mobile operator. This brings, for the first time in Kenya, a versatile and secure mobile payment solution, powered by Visa and its partner financial institutions.

Users of mVisa make payments by scanning a unique merchant QR code using their smartphones. About 1,500 merchants have signed up already and Kenyan lenders with units in the region want to introduce the system in neighboring nations. The solution also provides real-time notifications to both parties with regard to the status of the transaction.

The QR code, which provides the customers with the merchant's bank details, can be in the form of a static printout or a dynamic display generated on the merchant's mobile device. This allows merchants of all sizes to accept electronic payments without the need to obtain and run traditional point-of-sale devices.

"It is an exciting time as we work with our Kenyan partners to bring a new mobile payment solution to accelerate commerce," said Andrew Torre, Group Country Manager for Visa in Sub-Sahara Africa.

He added, "Kenyans already understand the benefits of mobile payments, and mVisa offers them a better way to pay and be paid, with a service which is not limited by the mobile network they have or the handset they use. The service also brings the advantages of Visa's global network – security, reliability and global acceptance – and allows consumers to make payments both domestically and internationally."

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. Visa operates one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—which is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, pay ahead of time with prepaid or pay later with credit products. For more information, visit, and @VisaNews.