Airtel Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and MasterCard Worldwide have today launched a commercial version of the world’s first virtual card that operates off a mobile wallet linked to Airtel’s mobile commerce offering – Airtel money. The service is initially available only in Kenya, but it will soon be available across Africa.

The iconic mobile commerce product known as ‘PayOnline’ rides on the Airtel Money with Mastercard providing their platform for online transaction while Standard Chartered bank is the transaction bank. The service is available only to registered Airtel Kenya clients who will be able to make online purchases from any site where MasterCard is accepted. Through the Airtel Money service, clients would be able to generate a single use shopping card which will expire within 24 hours.

Airtel Customers will be able to request a one-time virtual card number with the amount of purchase. Airtel money services platform will generate a special 16 digit number that enables

Steps of Getting “Pay Online” Service by Airtel working

Transaction charges are as follows

  • Ksh 1 – 4000 will be charged Ksh 80
  • Ksh 4001 – 8000 will be charged Ksh 110
  • Ksh 8001 – 16000 will be charged Ksh 130
  • Ksh 16,001 – 24,000 will be charged Ksh 150
  • Ksh 24,001 – 35,000 will be charged Ksh 180

The move comes as Airtel Kenya strategise itself to offer more value added services in the country to compete effectively. The one-time basis of the “Pay Online” product will provide clients with simple but secure payment process deprived of complex reconciliation and integration processes always associated with other online transactions.

The global opportunity for mobile payments is growing. According IE Market Research Corporation the global mobile purchases will reach $ 224.4 Billion by 2014. In the latest IEMR global mobile payment forecast, the research firm opines that that merchandise purchase growth will closely track overall growth in mobile payments globally.

The PayOnline solution is compatible with all mobile phones and operating systems via a configured update from Airtel customer service. Equally, the three partners have instituted a raft of security controls to ensure probity and secure transactions. Airtel Money interface was also upgraded recently to support the new offering.

Airtel Kenya’s competitor, Safaricom, in partnership with Visa and I&M Bank launched a pre-paid Visa card in February 2011.