The M-Pesa Visa Card as displayed on the M-Pesa app. It is a virtual card.
The M-Pesa Visa Card as displayed on the M-Pesa app. It is a virtual card.

Safaricom has introduced its much awaited virtual M-Pesa VISA card, allowing customers to make international payments for goods and services from their M-Pesa wallets. Safaricom customers can set up their M-Pesa Visa Card via the M-Pesa app.

The solution is expected to make online payments in particular much easier for Kenyans – whether its paying for that premium Spotify subscription or shopping online.

Here’s what you should know about the virtual card:

1. It doesn’t store any money. Instead, it maps your M-Pesa wallet. Payments will be deducted from your M-Pesa balance.

2. Regular M-Pesa transaction limits apply to the virtual card. Therefore, the maximum amount per transaction is Ksh150,000 and the maximum amount one can transact per day is Ksh300,000.

3. Instead of regular M-Pesa transaction fees, you will be charged a 3.5% forex fee markup. This is similar to how most bank cards work for international payments in different currencies. Safaricom will issue customers with a breakdown of the transaction and the charges everytime the card is used.

4. It features a dynamic CVV. With physical bank cards, the CVV found on the back of the card is used to authenticate payments. The dynamic CVV for the virtual card changes every 30 minutes to ensure security.

5. The dynamic CVV adds an extra layer of security. To make a transaction with the card, you will need to log in to the M-Pesa app with your M-Pesa PIN to access the CVV which is required to complete card payments.

6. To be automatically billed for repeat payments such as recurring subscriptions to various online services, you will need to enable the ‘Repeat Payments’ option within the app. Your card will be automatically charged in each billing cycle.

7. Regardless of how many Safaricom SIM cards you have registered, you can only have one M-Pesa virtual card.

8. The card only works for international platforms which accept VISA at checkout. This includes international platforms with a presence in Kenya – such as Google and Apple’s app stores. The card however does not work for local platforms.

9. The card expires after 3 years. But if you don’t use it, it automatically becomes inactive after 6 months.

10. If you wish, you can set card limits to cap expenditure. The card will not be able to transact once the set limit is reached.

How to Sign up for the M-Pesa Visa card:

1. To get your M-Pesa Visa card, you will need to have the M-Pesa app installed on your phone. It is available on app stores.

2. Open the app and select  the “Grow” tab

3. Select “Global Pay” and Opt in. You will receive an SMS from ‘Global Pay’ confirming you’ve opted in.

4. Customise your card colour and image based on different design options available.

5. Once customised, you can create the card. You will receive an SMS with the card number and its expiry date. These details are important to complete transactions. On the app you will be able to view card number details and the dynamic CVV.

6. You can also access it via USSD, by dialling *344# and selecting the Global Pay option on Lipa na M-Pesa.

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