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The Mobile phone firm Airtel Africa, the Standard Chartered Bank and the MasterCard Worldwide has announced the launch of its virtual card that operates off a wallet residing on a mobile phone.

The Airtel 1time Shopping Card, will offer communities the opportunity for greater participation in the financial system as they realize the substantial benefits of mobile commerce.

In a statement at the launch the card in Nairobi, Manoj Kohli, Airtel CEO (International) and Joint Managing Director, said ” The Airtel 1time Shopping Card is proof that Airtel will deliver innovative and relevant mobile solutions that will help consumers overcome the daily challenges in their lives,”

This single use shopping card will soon be available in Kenya and rolled out to markets across Africa, subject to regulatory approvals.

How it works

# Each time an Airtel customer is shopping online he or she will be able to request a single use shopping card number.
# Airtel money services will generate a special 16 digit number that enables the completion of the transaction.
# On completion of the transaction, a confirmation message will be sent to the consumer’s handset.

The opportunity for mobile payments is especially significant in Africa, where there are close to 400 million mobile phone users and an unbanked population of 230 million households. By 2014, Africa is expected to see 56 percent mobile penetration.

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