Sunday, May 19, 2024

Natsave and Mastercard sign strategic agreement to drive digital transformation and financial inclusion in Zambia


Mukwandi Chibesakunda, CEO of Natsave (left) and Raghu Malhotra, President of Middle East and Africa at Mastercard, celebrate the signing of the agreement
Mukwandi Chibesakunda, CEO of Natsave (left) and Raghu Malhotra, President of Middle East and Africa at Mastercard, celebrate the signing of the agreement

The National Savings Bank and Mastercard have signed a strategic partnership agreement, which will see the bank rollout Mastercard Chip and PIN prepaid and debit cards to provide its customers with a safer and more convenient alternative to transacting with cash.

This is in line with the government’s goal of creating an inclusive and modernized digital payments ecosystem in Zambia.

NatSave customers, who are currently limited to using their proprietary cards for withdrawing cash, will be switched to Mastercard’s prepaid and debit cards later this year.

The new cards will feature the latest EMV Chip and PIN payment technology, providing customers with a convenient, globally accepted payment solution with the highest security protection.

The partnership supports Zambia’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017 to 2022, which aims to increase financial inclusion from 59 percent to 80 percent.

“We are pleased to embark on a significant new strategic partnership and joint investment programme with Mastercard in our quest to make banking and payments more efficient, secure and convenient for our customers, while reducing their exposure to the safety risks and high transactional costs of handling cash,” says Mukwandi Chibesakunda, CEO of Natsave.

“We envisage that this collaboration will help to contribute to driving digital transformation, financial inclusion and economic development in Zambia, which are top on the agenda for us.”

By upgrading to a NatSave Mastercard payment card, the bank’s customers will be able to make safe and simple payments for everyday commerce activities.

This includes the ability to withdraw money from Mastercard-licensed ATMs and pay for goods and services at millions of online and physical retailers that accept Mastercard payment cards, both in Zambia and in more than 210 countries and territories worldwide.

“Organisations like Natsave are vital to connecting the underserved market to financial services and the formal economy,” says Mark Elliott, Division President of Mastercard, Southern Africa.

“Our collaboration with Natsave in Zambia represents a step forward in our strategy to create a world beyond cash, where the digitization of financial services not only leads to faster, smarter and safer transactions but provides people and businesses with the tools they need to achieve financial security, grow their businesses, and improve quality of life.”


  1. No need for credit cards for financial inclusion in Zambia in the age of SMS mobile phone banking.M-Pesa has been very successful in Kenya ,Afghanistan and India.

  2. MasterCard didn’t pursue the African market because they thought it was unprofitable, VISA took a risk and Africa is theirs, MasterCard is now desperate that they are partnering with a non-commercial bank and Mobile service providers etc.
    NATSAVE should have partnered with UnionPay.

    • Spot on @2 Dokowe. MasterCard have always pursued an elitist business strategy but have noticed that Visa, the people’s card is raking in big profits from all corners of the world. “Sensela lulya bwacha”!!. Word of caution to service providers, MasterCard charges are steeper than Visa. When service providers in Zambia realise the cost of accepting MasterCard payments, they will stop accepting the card and Visa will march on. No bwino bwino for MasterCard.

  3. There is really no real difference between MasterCard and Visa. They are both widely accepted in over two hundred countries and I have never found a location that will accept one but not the other.They are both simply methods of payment. They rely on banks in various countries to issue credit cards that utilise these payment methods. Therefore, the interest rates, rewards, annual fees, and all other charges are issued by your bank and when you pay your bill you are paying it to the bank or institution that issued your card and not Visa or MasterCard. So basically Natsave is doing to have this partnership because it will broaden their business activities.

    • @3 The Observer, you’re so wrong on card handling charges. Amex and MasterCard are more expensive to handle than Visa. Service providers with very few card transactions will notice this and will start declining certain cards (MasterCard and AMEX) or impose a minimum spend. Most service providers shun Amex and a few shun MasterCard but no one will turn down a Visa credit card payment. These are businesses and they know their market niche.

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