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Ukheshe, Africa’s leading digital fintech platform provider, today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Oltio.

Oltio developed the digital payments platform that supports Masterpass, Mastercard’s QR payment service in South Africa and enables people to safely pay for a wide variety of purchases with their bank card by scanning a QR code with their mobile phone.

Ukheshe has an established partnership with Mastercard, as it is a participant in Mastercard’s Accelerate programme – including Start Path and Fintech Express. The programme offers an access point to tap into Mastercard’s technology, data, expertise and global network of corporates and fintechs to help scale its operations globally.

Ukheshe will continue to provide the same support to the banks and other service providers that currently offer Masterpass, ensuring business continuity with no impact to consumers or merchants. The deal is also set to strengthen Ukheshe’s existing partnership with Mastercard, combining its ability to solve local market pain points with Mastercard’s global scale, technology and payment expertise.

Clayton Hayward, CEO, Ukheshe says Oltio is a natural fit for the company given its proven track record of developing mobile-centred solutions and the fintech’s strong existing partnership with Mastercard: “Digital-first solutions for consumers remain a key priority. By enabling different customer segments as part of our ongoing partnership with Mastercard, Ukheshe is well placed to continue providing fintechs, telcos and banks with payment solutions, and services that will further deepen financial inclusion in South Africa.”

“Today’s news builds on the momentum of our QR work in South Africa and deepens our collaboration with fintechs,” says Suzanne Morel, country manager at Mastercard, South Africa. “We look forward to combining our global network with Ukheshe’s local understanding of consumer and SME pain points to provide consumers and businesses with safe and seamless payment experiences.”

The use of QR codes in South Africa complements the extensive investment in contactless payments to provide merchants of all sizes – from large retailers chains to individual shop owners and street vendors – a fast, secure and inexpensive way to accept payments. Currently, more than 300,000 merchants and billers accept Masterpass.

The transaction is anticipated to close by the end of the year.