Standard Bank sells mobile paytech Oltio to Mastercard
Mastercard has acquired Oltio, a mobile paytech firm in South Africa.
Oltio, previously owned by Standard Bank, is already a long-standing partner of Mastercard and, according to the buyer, “pioneered several mobile payments and banking solutions, including authentication technology”.
The latter enables consumers to authenticate Masterpass digital wallet purchases in South Africa using their bank PIN and mobile phone.
Oltio will “thrive as part of an issuer-independent payments company”, comments Andrew Wilmot, executive, group card and emerging payments for Standard Bank.
Oltio was previously known as MTN Mobile Money South Africa. The company was set up in 2004 by domestic mobile phone operator MTN Group, but failed to crack the country’s mobile money market. MTN Group decommissioned the offering in 2016 “due to a lack of commercial viability” (around three quarters of South African population already had a bank account, MTN explained). The business was then sold to Standard Bank and rebranded as Oltio.
“Too many consumers and merchants in the MEA region are stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them,” says Mark Elliott, division president for Mastercard, Southern Africa. “By combining our joint expertise, technologies and reach, we can bridge the divide between the region’s cash economies and the digital future.”
Oltio’s solutions bring functionality such as person-to-person (P2P) payments, bill payments, and airtime top-ups, which issuers can integrate into their existing mobile banking applications.
For merchants, Mastercard says it will “enhance and scale its omnichannel acceptance solutions, enabling even the smallest businesses to accept digital payments using efficient and affordable technology, such as QR codes”.
Mastercard plans to roll out Oltio’s tech to the markets in Africa and the Middle East.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.