The mobile financial services specialist Fundamo has been acquired by Visa for around $110 million, indicating that the global payments giant is looking to strengthen its operations in emerging markets by capitalising on Fundamo’s experience in this area. While mobile financial services in developing markets are growing and have become a core service offered by many mobile operators and financial institutions, these services are often limited in scalability and reach and are not interoperable with other regional payment services or global payments networks.
Fundamo's platform enables the delivery of mobile financial services to unbanked and under-banked consumers around the world--including person-to-person payment, airtime top-up, bill payment and branchless banking services. The combined Visa Fundamo platform will add enhanced functionality and new services to existing mobile financial services subscribers across Africa, Asia and Latin America for safe, reliable and globally accepted payments solutions.
It will expand the utility of closed-loop systems, enable them to be interoperable, make financial services available to more consumers and offer merchants access to new customers.This has the potential to connect billions of unbanked and under-banked consumers to each other and to the global economy.
"Combining Visa's unparalleled network scale, global reach, extensive product suite and established financial institution relationships with Fundamo's expertise in delivering mobile financial services in developing economies presents us with an important long-term opportunity to drive financial inclusion in key geographic markets," said Joseph W. Saunders, chairman and chief executive officer of Visa Inc. "Mobile network operators and financial institutions will now be able to take advantage of Fundamo's trusted mobile financial services platform backed by Visa's high standards for security, reliability and scale," said Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of Fundamo.
Privately held, Cape Town, South Africa-based Fundamo has more than 50 active mobile financial services deployments across more than 40 countries, including 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Fundamo's deployments currently have a base of more than five million registered subscribers and the potential to reach more than 180 million consumers with mobile financial services. Mobile prepaid payments provide affordable, convenient and secure transaction capabilities that are transformational to the lives of merchants and consumers in those regions.