By Leroy M. Sonpon III
United Bank for Africa Liberia Limited (UBALL) has launched the first debit MasterCard in the country, becoming the first commercial bank to do so for its clients in Liberia.
The UBALL said the cost to acquire the MasterCard is US$5 and it is valid for five (5) years, subject to renewal and replacement.
The president and chief executive officer (CEO) of UBALL, Lekan Balogun, said the MasterCard is an electronic payment solution which will deliver a quick, convenient and secure payment alternative for their clients. He asserted that with the launch of the MasterCard, their clients can also use it alongside their Visa and other cards across the country and Africa, and throughout the world.
Speaking at the press launch of the MasterCard in Monrovia yesterday, Mr. Balogun said:
“We are pleased to launch the MasterCard to enable our customers to take advantage of our enhanced digital banking and a wide range of exclusive features and services that are offered as part of this product.”
The UBALL boss said from any UBA branch across the country, customers can be instantly signed up and start using the card right away.
“The launch of MasterCard is one of our strategic objectives to push financial inclusion in Liberia and we believe that with this product we will be more effective in the retail banking space,” Balogun said.
The head of Digital Banking at UBALL, Prince Chesson, said the new service is in partnership with MasterCard Incorporated or MasterCard Worldwide, an American multinational financial services corporation.
Chesson said the UBA and MasterCard partnership is helping to empower people through access to financial tools.
MasterCard is a quick go-to-market strategy that ensures that more people are connected to the formal financial sector, giving them the power to pay for goods and services in-store or online wherever MasterCard is accepted. The debit card can also be used at any ATM locally and at millions of ATM locations worldwide.
Cardholders will also be able to select their own PIN, giving them full control to approve transactions at points of sale or when withdrawing cash from ATMs.
According to UBA, the MasterCard has strong enhanced security features with a chip embedded that contains encrypted information, making it almost impossible for the card to be copied or counterfeited. The card also has a magnetic strip on the back so that cardholders can continue using their cards while merchants are transitioning to new chip-enabled terminals.
Additionally, the debit MasterCard gives the cardholder full control of their funds and provides them the ability to withdraw funds directly from a savings or current account.
The UBA International Group’s director for marketing and corporate communication, Bola Atta, said: “As a group, we are committed to driving financial inclusion and empowering businesses across Africa, and our partnership with MasterCard enables us to deploy safe electronic solutions to the benefit of the entire country.”
She indicated that in line with UBA’s strategic vision, the bank is introducing innovative payment solutions that meet the needs of people across Africa.
Meanwhile, the proxy for the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mrs. Erica Williams, said the CBL sees the launch of MasterCard in Liberia as a steppingstone towards the building of a sustainable and vibrant financial sector; an opportunity to enable expansion and wider outreach of financial services; modernization of the payment system; building a cashless society; and encouraging greater competition in the financial sector.
“The Central Bank of Liberia has been enthusiastic and supportive from the inception of the use of digital payments in the country. It is now evident that Liberians have seen the potential of digital payments and its impact in the country as we witness considerable growth in the utilization of digital services,” she said.
The manager of Hadid Electronics, Tarik Rassouk, expressed his appreciation on behalf of UBA customers, which included Lonestar Cell MTN, Orange, among others.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, with a presence in 19 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.
UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The bank provides services to over 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.
UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an IPO (Initial Public Offering), following its listing on the NSE in 1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts.