TNM Mpamba, Mastercard launch debit card for digital payments in Malawi

In a country-first for Malawi, mobile money service provider TNM Mpamba has launched a Mastercard debit card, enabling its customers – even those without bank accounts – to make safe and seamless in-person and online digital payments on the Mastercard network. Dubbed “Khadi Mbambande”, the new card is expected to enhance financial inclusion and improve access to the digital economy.

Powered by National Bank of Malawi, the physical Mastercard debit card is linked to the TNM Mpamba mobile money wallet, giving customers new ways to access and pay for products and services at the millions of retail locations that accept Mastercard in Malawi and abroad. Customers can also withdraw funds from ATMs, as well as use the card in similar manner to the Mastercard virtual Khadi Mbambande payment solution to access an array of online payments and services like Netflix, Facebook advertising and popular online shopping platforms like Amazon.

Convenience is a key advantage of the debit card as customers can easily manage and track finances, as funds are adjusted directly against a customer’s Mpamba wallet with an electronic record of every transaction carried out.

According to Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor Dr Wilson Banda, who spoke at the launch event in Lilongwe, the solution will accelerate efforts towards deepening financial inclusion and economic activity.

“With the TNM Mpamba Mastercard debit card, there is now certainty to add over nine million people to the national payments system in one fell swoop. Such a development has potential to instantly revolutionize the country’s financial services sector, as millions of people become financially included in one go,” said Banda. “With potential to instantly add nearly half of the entire population using a mobile money platform such as Mpamba, the dream to achieve financial inclusion is closer to reality than ever.”

Arnold Mbwana, the TNM CEO, said the Mpamba Mastercard debit card is one of the outcomes of the company’s long-term investments in mobile technology and systems and aims to further improve the capacity of Malawi’s national payments ecosystem.

“The introduction of a Mastercard debit card is part of TNM Mpamba’s ongoing program to provide more people with access to financial services and tools that will simplify their lives. With access to Mastercard’s unrivalled network of merchants and ATMs, together with TNM Mpamba’s wide agent network, we are able to increase the ecosystem of locations where the Mpamba mobile wallet can be used, further expanding transaction options and use cases for our mobile money customers. This brings greater convenience, more choice, and an enhanced user experience.”

The rollout of the TNM Mpamba Mastercard payment solutions plays a key role in advancing Mastercard’s worldwide commitment to financial inclusion to bring a total of 1 billion people, and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.

Amnah Ajmal, the Executive VP for Market Development, Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said: “To create a powerful ecosystem, partnerships between players are increasingly needed to meet the needs and expectations of the fast-evolving consumer. We are pleased to advance our digital partnerships strategy in MEA with TNM Mpamba, as we support their digital transformation and bring more seamless payment experiences to their customers. This in turn will help increase the adoption and usage of digital payments and services – ultimately leading to a more connected, and inclusive digital economy that benefits everyone.”

Following double-digit growth in 2020, GSMA’s latest data reports over half a billion mobile money accounts in Africa – close to half of the global total. Customers are using their accounts for new and more advanced use cases including person-to-merchant payments, suggesting that more people are moving away from the margins of financial systems and leading increasingly digital lives.

Research has also shown that access to digital financial services and mobile money platforms has allowed previously unbanked Malawians and other Africans to grow their micro-enterprises and businesses.

To boost financial literacy, TNM Mpamba and Mastercard have also collaborated with the National Bank of Malawi to contextualize and adapt key card information for the Malawian market. This will ensure that first-time users of physical and virtual debit payment products enjoy a safe and user-friendly payment experience.

TNM Mpamba confirmed a simplified onboarding process when registering for TNM Mpamba and applying for its Mastercard payment solutions.

TNM Mpamba is a digital financial service provider offering Mobile Money Services (Mpamba). Mpamba is accessible through mobile devices and a web portal; offering services to both individuals and corporates. The indigenous financial services provider was established on 1 May 2013 as a subsidiary of TNM. TNM Mpamba Limited was then registered as a separate entity on 1 November 2018 and is 100% owned by TNM.

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