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SME-in-a-Box: Mastercard’s New Payment Solution for Zambian Businesses

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Luis Monzon
Luis Monzon
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Mastercard has partnered with Zambian-based fintech company, Digital PayGo, to launch a new merchant mobile payments solution, which will enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to safely make and receive digital payments through various online channels.

The solution called “SME-in-a-Box” will support the enablement of digital payments for merchants and their customers, by providing them with a convenient, easy-to-use and safe way to perform cashless transactions from their mobile devices, says Mastercard in a statement.

Backed by Mastercard’s payment technology, SME-in-a-Box enables digital transactions through the use of a USSD code, Mobile Application, Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS), a Virtual and Physical (plastic) card, and scannable QR code.

Most Zambian Businesses are SMEs According to Report

A 2020 report commissioned by the Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry indicates that SMEs represent 97% of all businesses in Zambia and employ over half of the working-class population, with nine out of 10 businesses said to operate within the informal sector. These SMEs operating in the informal sector are faced with varying challenges ranging from unanticipated financial needs, and lack of access to capital due to insufficient credit history thus halting their ability to grow and scale up. SME-in-a-Box is developed to solve this pain point specifically, the company says.

An end-to-end digital proposition, SME-in-a-Box will also seek to enhance payment acceptance options for SMEs and unlock their business growth by enabling them to tap into the diverse opportunities brought about by the digital payment ecosystem.

“SMEs have an outsized impact on the economy, providing a livelihood for many while advancing inclusive growth to reduce poverty and boost prosperity. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened consumer preference for cashless payment platforms and many small businesses do not have the resources and infrastructure to facilitate these kinds of transactions. Through this innovative and secure solution, SMEs will be able to pivot their businesses while aligning them to the growing consumer need to use digital payments and do so safely and conveniently,” said Vincent Chipimo Malekani, Country Business Development Director at Mastercard, Zambia and Malawi.

“This partnership further reiterates Mastercard’s commitment to bringing 1 billion people globally into the digital economy by 2025 and supporting small businesses through our technology,” he added.

“We are excited about this partnership as it will help SMEs  grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of the digital economy. The Zambian SME sector has been excluded in terms of access to financial services and this proposition will enhance the inclusion process through which SMEs make and receive payments through various channels,” Digital PayGo CEO Charity C. Mwanza commented on the partnership.

Financial Inclusion in Zambia

This partnership supports efforts by the Zambian government to accelerate financial inclusion for all citizens.

According to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy of 2017, the Zambian government has outlined targets for the digitisation of government-to-persons (G2P) payments such as government salaries and refunds, and persons to government (P2G) payments such as school fees, health service cost sharing from the public, and tax payments.

Edited by Luis Monzon
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