San Francisco-based Fortumo has launched direct carrier billing in three new African markets. More than 52 million people in Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal can now make seamless digital payments and get the purchases charged to their mobile phone bill.
App stores, digital merchants and game developers using Fortumo can now significantly increase their online payments reach in some of the most underbanked countries of the world.
In Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal the percentage of bank card owners is only 2%. At the same time, carrier billing is available to any prepaid or postpaid mobile account owner. This means merchants using carrier billing can reach a paying audience twenty times bigger than with traditional payment methods.
Fortumo says while traditional bank-based payments do not generally work in Africa, they are looking at collaborating with virtual credit card providers and digital wallet merchants to enable them expansion into African markets through topping up these accounts via carrier billing.
Fortumo now covers 21 countries in the Middle East & North African region, with 7 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa).
The company also plans to add additional markets in Africa later in 2016. In total, nearly 600 million mobile users have access to carrier billing through Fortumo in the Middle Eastern & African region.
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