MasterCard Inc. formed a partnership with Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique au Congo to provide payment cards in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of efforts to tap the potential for banking in Africa’s fourth-most populous country.

The pre-paid card, called Heyano, will be offered starting Dec. 1 and allow customers to make and receive payments in Congo and from abroad using the MasterCard network, without opening a bank account, the partners said in the capital, Kinshasa, Thursday.

Just 6 percent of Congo’s 75 million people have access to a bank account or other financial services, according to BIAC, as the lender is known. MasterCard has introduced similar products in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, where the government last year issued MasterCard-branded identity cards with the capacity to make and receive electronic payments.

“Congo is a giant for us,” Charlton Goredema, vice president for Southern Africa at Purchase, New York-based MasterCard, said in an interview.

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