An agreement with Ecobank Group in Africa will result in Mastercard launching its digital Masterpass QR mobile payments across 33 countries.

Mastercard says the agreement represents the largest Masterpass QR [quick response] deal to date, adding 32 countries by the end of the year to the Ecobank customers in Nigeria already using the person-to-merchant payment software.

The QR solution is Mastercard's enhancement to the Masterpass global digital payment system that enables millions of micro, small and medium enterprises across Africa to accept digital payments.

The service is designed to avoid the expensive infrastructure required for point-of-sale devices, and also eliminate the need for consumers to carry cash.

Ecobank’s mobile banking platform users will be able to pay for online and in-store purchases by scanning a QR code displayed at checkout on their smartphones, or by entering a merchant identifier into their feature phones.

“Masterpass QR has been fulfilling the needs of micro merchants in Nigeria since it was launched in August this year," Daniel Monehin, division president for Sub-Saharan Africa at Mastercard, said in an Oct. 20 release.

The extended partnership with Ecobank signals "one of the largest implementations of a digital payment solution in Africa, resulting in millions of previously excluded people joining the financial ecosystem," Monehin said.

In the past few months, Mastercard has pushed the Masterpass digital payment service as a complement to bank-branded wallets, saying it wants banks to keep their brand at the forefront of mobile payment schemes.

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