Visa Launches its First Card Payment Service in Somalia

Image sourced from Tech Cabal.

Visa has announced a new partnership with the International Bank of Somalia (IBS Bank) to launch Somalia’s first Visa card payment services in the country.

According to Tech Cabal, Somalia has been making significant headways into “reawakening” its financial entities. Since the collapse of its government in 1991, Somalia has lacked any formal banking or financial system, and this new partnership with Visa seems to be another watershed moment in this mission.

“For Visa to come to Somalia, it means that we are on the right path of growth and progress. We will continue to make partnerships and bring convenient and innovative financial solutions to the people,” said Mahat Mohamed, the CEO of IBS Bank.

Somalia built its first ATM in 2014, 47 years after its invention, 33 years after the first ATM was built in South Africa and 25 years after ATMs were introduced in Nigeria and Kenya. The machine was built in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city, and was first used to facilitate cash withdrawals in US dollars for only diaspora returnees and foreigners.

Now, more and more financial institutions are looking towards Somalia. “New players are coming on board now. Two years ago, we had about five licensed banks, and today we are talking of 13 licensed commercial banks. That goes to demonstrate the appetite that is there.” Mohamed adds.

Somalia’s Central Bank Governor, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi says that the Visa partnership will connect Somalia to the global financial system and show the growing confidence in the country’s banking and finance sector.

“We plan to install an electronic verification system that will ease biometric identification of customers opening bank accounts or transacting in Somalia. We believe this will help to build international trust and confidence in transactions originating from Somalia to other financial markets,” Abdullahi says.

MasterCard Beats Visa to the Punch

In 2015 MasterCard became the first international payment network to enter the Somali market.

This was managed through a partnership with Premier Bank. MasterCard issued 5000 debit cards to be used by Premier Bank account holders for domestic transactions.

By Luis Monzon
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