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February 28, 2018updated 07 Mar 2018 1:20pm

Mastercard uses Facebook Messenger to support small businesses going digital

By Briony Richter

Mastercard announced that it will now use Facebook Messenger to provide technology to small businesses across Africa and Asia, in an effort to drive electronic and mobile payments.

Access to digital payments will allow small business to enter new markets and gain access to financial services that will help them expand their business. The messenger experience will begin in Nigeria with the launch of Masterpass QR bot.

The bot will enable Nigerian businesses to set up digital money accounts and accept QR payments. Ecobank and Zenith Bank will support Mastercard’s new programme.

According to research done by The Fletcher School and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, of the $301bn of funds that flow from consumers to businesses in Nigeria, 98% is still based on cash.

Jorn Lambert, executive vice president, digital channels and regions at Mastercard, stated: “Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have.

“Masterpass QR opens up new commerce channels for these merchants and enables them to create auditable transaction records. These advances open doors to other financial tools and products such as loans to drive added business growth.”

Businesses that want to participate can send a request to the bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the banks and set up an account to start accepting digital payments. Once the account has been set up, business owners can display the QR code in their store and save it on their phones. To pay, customers can either scan the code from their smartphone or enter the merchant ID associated with the QR code.

Kahina Van Dyke, director of payments and financial services partnerships at Facebook, added: “Brands and developers around the world are turning to messaging to connect with the 1.3 billion people who use Messenger each month. We are pleased that Mastercard is developing a service on the Messenger platform to help small merchants use messaging to manage their business and connect with their customers.”

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