France Telecom-Orange (NYSE:FTE) and Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) have announced that Orange Money customers will soon have access to Visa prepaid account features inside their Orange Money accounts. The announcement was made today, Feb. 29.
It is said to be a significant step in bringing Visa-quality payments to consumers in developing markets. Orange Money is the mobile phone-based payment service designed by Orange to meet the needs of customers in Africa and the Middle East.
It offers Orange subscribers applications such as person to person transfers, bill payments, and agent-based cash-in and cash-out services for loading or withdrawing funds.
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Launched in cooperation with local bank partners, the service was first introduced in 2008 and is presently available in eight countries across Africa and the Middle East. Orange plans to introduce Visa payment capability to Orange Money subscribers in select markets by the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, with increased focus on consumer mobility, Orange will launch a new high-performance Android smartphone in Europe this summer. Powered by Intel technology, the device currently codenamed ‘Orange Santa Clara,’ will deliver the latest in smartphone capabilities and rich entertainment experiences to more customers. (Read: Orange Santa Clara Coming with Intel Technology)
“We already provide secure and convenient payment capability to 3.5 million unbanked or financially under-served African citizens,” said Jean- Paul Cottet, Orange’s executive director for Marketing and Innovation.
“By combining the convenience of Orange Money with the reach of Visa’s global payment network, we can offer new payment capability to Orange Money customers in their home country and abroad.”
Visa Mobile Prepaid, a new Visa product introduced in October 2011, enhances the security, scale and interoperability of mobile money programs, such as Orange Money, by enabling account holders to make person-to-person payments, retail and e-commerce purchases at merchants where Visa is accepted, or withdraw funds at Visa ATMs.
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“Mobile technology has become one of the most important enablers of financial inclusion and its ubiquity is allowing mobile network operators, financial institutions, and Visa to connect financially under-served consumers to each other and the global economy,” said John Partridge, president, Visa Inc.
“The convergence of mobile and financial services networks helps to remove service barriers, accelerates the pace of change and is transforming the lives of consumers in developing countries.”
By integrating Visa Mobile Prepaid accounts into Orange Money accounts, Orange is connecting existing mobile money subscribers to VisaNet, Visa’s global payment network that is today utilized by 2.2 billion account holders, 30 million merchants and provides access to 1.9 million ATMs globally.
Photo courtesy: France Telecom-Orange