Zemen Bank and Mastercard partner to launch Ethiopia’s first contactless Platinum Mastercard Prepaid Travel Card

  • Country’s first prepaid and contactless travel card will enable Ethiopians to travel with USD or EUR currencies  

Zemen Bank has announced a partnership with Mastercard that will see the introduction of the first ever Mastercard branded prepaid contactless travel card in Ethiopia.

Zemen Mastercard prepaid travel cards will enable cardholders to use cards with either of the two major currencies, namely U.S. Dollars and Euros, based on their travel destination. The card is also the first contactless card issued in Ethiopia.

Dereje Zebene, Chief Executive Officer of Zemen Bank, emphasized the benefits of the new card and acknowledged the decision of the central bank to allow banks to start issuing travel cards: “We are delighted to see this product address our customers’ needs for overseas travel, without the need to carry cash. Zemen Bank is known for introducing banking technologies in the country and we are proud to again be the pioneer to issue the contactless prepaid travel cards in partnership with Mastercard. We envision that this will pave the way for more e-commerce payments too, as customers are also able to book their flights and hotels using their cards.”

In addition to the two main currencies, Zemen Bank will in future work with Mastercard to issue cards for other currencies based on popular customer destinations, to add convenience and avoid currency conversion costs.

Amha Tadesse, VP Information Technology at Zemen Bank, said: “We are also excited to roll out Mastercard’s contactless tap to pay service, which is the first of its kind in Ethiopia. Dubbed “Z-Tap”, now all Zemen POS machines and most ATMs accept contactless Mastercard cards as a result of our significant investment and diligent approach to providing contactless solutions.”

Other benefits of the platinum Mastercard prepaid travel card include access to all Mastercard points of sale and ATMs in the world, as well as platinum insurance benefits, which cover card fraud protection and purchase protection. In addition, cardholders are able to load up to USD 10,000 or equivalent, depending on the purpose of travel.

Raghav Prasad, Mastercard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa said: “Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless for many years, championing tap-and-go as the most simple, safe and fast way to pay. Innovation is central to achieving a cashless society in Ethiopia where everyone can thrive. We remain committed to developing market-relevant digital payment solutions that offer value to consumers and the wider ecosystem, and our partnership with Zemen Bank is the latest example of how we continue to collaborate on this journey.”