Businesses in Nigeria will now be able to accept QR payments via Facebook Messenger. This new development was announced at Mobile World Congress 2018 by Mastercard as it will be piloting its Masterpass QR technology in the West Afrikan country.

Mastercard also stated that the Facebook Messenger bot for QR payments pilot in Nigeria will be carried with the support of Zenith Bank and Ecobank.

β€œEvery 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,” said Jorn Lambert, Executive Vice President, Digital Channels, and Regions at Mastercard.

According to Mastercard, the process for a Nigerian business to start accepting QR payments is as easy as the business first sending a request to the bot to enable QR payments. Once approval is confirmed from one of the banks, the business can set up an account and start accepting QR payments by printing and displaying their QR code in their stores.

β€œOur Bank is partnering with Facebook and Mastercard to introduce Masterpass QR as a means of driving financial inclusion and creating a new payment ecosystem for MSMEs and consumers. This initiative will help us encourage financial inclusion within the country in line with the strategic thrust of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Buyers and sellers now meet and conclude transactions in-store, online and on social media, so we are ensuring payments can also be made on these platforms via QR codes, without having to log onto other solutions or even take a break from what you are doing on Facebook,” said Peter Amangbo, CEO at Zenith Bank.

Payments technology has become a big industry not only across Afrika but specifically in Nigeria. Earlier in 2017, one of Nigeria's FinTech and payments startups, Paga, announced significant growth milestones including now being fully integrated into the country's banking system. In the same year, another Nigerian FinTech startup, Flutterwave, raised $10 million in a Series A funding round.

This all makes sense when you consider that according to research done by The Fletcher School and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, $301 billion moves from consumers to businesses in Nigeria, and 98% of this is still based on cash.

β€œIn line with our goal to serve 100 million Africans by the end of 2020, Ecobank is delighted to collaborate with Facebook and Mastercard to enable underserved and unbanked micro-merchants with the opportunity to open an Ecobank account almost immediately and begin to receive instant payments using Ecobank Masterpass QR on the Facebook Messenger platform. Micro merchants in Nigeria are already benefiting from Masterpass QR and will soon be in 32 markets across Africa, enabling them to move away from cash. That is true economic empowerment,” concluded Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Consumer Bank at Ecobank Group.

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