Blog Post

Visa Buys Fundamo, Takes Big Step Into Mobile Payments In Developing World

Visa is getting a lot more serious about mobile payments, and significantly it’s not just putting its efforts and investments in developing markets with their fancy, NFC-enabled smartphones and high-tech points of sale. Today it announced that it has purchased Fundamo, a mobile payments startup that focusses on solutions or emerging markets, for $110 million in an all-cash deal.

In a release announcing the news, Visa says it expects the transaction to close today.

Fundamo, based in Cape Town, South Africa, had been a privately-held enterprise with more than 50 customers covering five million subscribers in 40 countries, with a special emphasis in Africa, with other deployments in Asia and the Middle East. Its services work on the premise of SMS-based mobile payments, rather than new technologies like NFC, although Fundamo has also said to me in the past that it would incorporate new technologies as and when they became accessible to its market base.

In the same announcement, Visa also said that it had extended its agreement with Monitise, a UK-based mobile payments company that develops apps for a range of devices for users to access their bank accounts — or in this case, their Visa account details — and make transactions using them.