The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has introduced its first merchant-focused app in Africa with the aim of creating a SMART (secure, mobile, accessible, reliable, transparent) network of 100,000 micro merchants and driving financial inclusion.
The merchant app will include Masterpass QR, a mobile payment solution powered by MasterCard, and is immediately available for download to any feature or smart phone in the country.
The bank said in a statement that, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute significantly to the economy but remain heavily dependent on cash to run their business; however, consumers are demanding safer and more convenient ways to pay.
It pointed out that access to mobile technology would present an opportunity to meet this demand, adding that the new UBA Masterpass QR Merchant App was set to change the payment landscape to the benefit of micro merchants across the country.
The announcement followed the pan-African commitment made by UBA and MasterCard in July 2016 to introduce safer and more convenient ways to pay for goods and services in Nigeria and across the continent.
Nigeria had been selected as the first market to go live with the merchant app because of the country’s eagerness to adopt smart tech solutions.
The bank said Masterpass QR was being introduced across all UBA’s subsidiaries in the rest of Africa.
“As a group, we are committed to driving financial inclusion and empowering businesses across Africa. Our partnership with MasterCard enables us to deploy safe digital solutions for customers and the banking public. UBA MasterCard QR Merchant App is another of such solution,” UBA’s Group Head Consumer and Digital Banking, Dr. Yinka Adedeji said.
Adedeji confirmed that UBA will be working with other MasterCard partners that are experts in their respective fields thereby further supporting the local industry.
“Innovectives, an integrated fintech company and Nigeria’s leading agent network manager will support with technical development and value added services component of the roll-out while Grooming Centre, the leading micro finance institution in the country will provide the micro merchants access to finance,” he added.
He reinforced that the collaboration would be a game changer for micro merchants in Nigeria, and across Africa.
“With UBA Masterpass QR Merchant App, business owners are able to receive instant notification of payments in real time, view their current banking statement and get insights about sales trends.
“These features will help merchants to plan their businesses better thereby enabling easier access to financial support. It also provides micro merchants the ability to offer value added services such as bill payments or airtime top-ups to their customers, thus enabling the merchants to expand their current business model and develop a SMART network of micro merchants that are moving beyond cash,” the statement added.
The Vice President and Area Business Head for West Africa, MasterCard, Omokehinde Adebanjo said: “As part of our commitment to empowering MSMEs, the introduction of Masterpass QR through our partner’s mobile merchant app is one of the most significant contributions we have made to Africa.
“It speaks directly to our global goal of connecting 40 million MSMEs to our payment network by 2020, in support of our global Financial Access 2020 commitment.”
She added that the MasterCard partnership with UBA would focus on developing the acceptance infrastructure in Nigeria and across the continent, which in turn will develop a SMART network of micro merchants. The smaller businesses and consumers would benefit from the introduction of easy-to-access solutions such as Masterpass QR which will drive inclusion and deliver a cashless economy.