Rawbank and Mastercard Debut Virtual Cards in Congo via Illicocash


Mastercard has teamed up with Illicocash, a fintech division of Rawbank, to initiate a virtual card program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This collaboration aims to provide an innovative and easy way for consumers and businesses to conduct eCommerce transactions. This development is a follow-up to Rawbank’s 2022 partnership with Thunes. This worldwide cross-border payment infrastructure provider was aimed at enhancing cross-border transactions between the DRC and the global community. Through this partnership, customers in the DRC can now obtain virtual cards that are valid on both domestic and international websites, thereby broadening their access to various entertainment, shopping, and experiential opportunities.

The virtual card program introduced by Illicocash, as explained by General Manager Karim Nouri, is a major enhancement to their digital offerings. This program not only facilitates online purchases but also simplifies the management of travel expenses for employees in small and startup businesses, eliminating the necessity for physical cards. This development is particularly beneficial for the unbanked and underbanked populations. As of 2022, only 26% of the working population possessed a bank account, and about 35% of adults remained without one. The main reason for this is the significant distance from financial institutions and services.

Jean-Charles Yallet, who leads the FSSA division for MENA West at Mastercard, emphasized the importance of their alliance as a crucial part of the company’s goal to integrate one billion individuals and 50 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) into the digital economy globally by 2025. He underscored Mastercard’s dedication to collaborating with local fintech companies to drive innovation in the African payment industry and to enhance financial accessibility.

In a significant move in August 2023, Airtel Africa and Mastercard teamed up to launch a novel cross-border remittance service. This initiative has made it easier for their combined 100 million customers across 14 African countries to engage in international money transfers.

Furthermore, in January 2024, Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank in terms of assets, formed a partnership with UnionPay International, a branch of China’s UnionPay. This collaboration is aimed at boosting eCommerce across various African nations.



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