MasterCard has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ecobank Group to launch its QR code-based mobile payment service, Masterpass QR, across 33 African countries.

Ecobank is already offering the mobile person-to-merchant payment solution to its customers in Nigeria, while the remaining 32 countries will be able to use Masterpass QR by the end of 2016.

The new agreement, which is said to be the largest-ever deal for Masterpass, will enable Ecobank to achieve its 100 million customer ambition by 2020.

“Users of Ecobank’s mobile banking platform across the 33 countries will be able to pay for online and in-store purchases by scanning a QR code displayed at checkout on their smartphones, or by entering a merchant identifier into their feature phones,” MasterCard said in a statement.

Ecobank group CEO Ade Ayeyemi said, “With partnerships such as the one we have with MasterCard, we are well-positioned to meet the growing demands of consumers and merchants across Africa.

“We will use Masterpass QR to leverage the power of digital to bring millions of people into the formal financial sector. Our mission at Ecobank is to build a world-class Pan-African bank that contributes to the integration and socio-economic development of the continent.”

MasterCard division president for Sub-Saharan Africa Daniel Monehin said: “Masterpass QR has been fulfilling the needs of micro merchants in Nigeria since it was launched in August this year.

“Our extended partnership with Ecobank signals one of the largest implementations of a digital payment solution in Africa, resulting in millions of previously excluded people joining the financial ecosystem.”