Many can relate, which is why Safaricom had the smart idea to offer a virtual Visa card through its globally renowned M-Pesa mobile money wallet.
The telco has removed all the complex application processes, stringent qualification criteria, and long wait times for a Visa card so common with traditional banks. As long as you have an active M-Pesa account, you have a virtual Visa card just waiting for you to activate.
This article will teach you how to get the M-Pesa virtual Visa card. We will also answer some commonly asked questions about the M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card.
Let’s dive right in.
M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is a Visa card that is linked to your M-Pesa mobile money wallet but is in digital (virtual) rather than physical form. A virtual Visa card works like a regular, physical Visa card but can usually only be used to pay online.
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is a partnership between Safaricom, which operate the M-Pesa mobile money service, and Visa, the global payments processing and card network.
Even though it is not physically existing, the M-Pesa virtual Visa card has the same features as any other Visa card. It has the 16-digit card number, expiry date, and CVV number. It only differs from other virtual Visa cards in that you can only use it on global websites and apps, not locally, in person, or when withdrawing money from ATMs.
What you use on a virtual Visa card are the card details, not the magnetic strip or chip you find on a physical Visa card. So you will not receive a physical plastic card in the mail. The card lives in your mobile money app or wallet, which is why virtual Visa cards can be requested and activated instantaneously.
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is linked to the M-Pesa mobile money wallet. You have to be a Safaricom subscriber to get the virtual Visa card. If you have an active M-Pesa account, there are two ways you can request the M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card - USSD and M-Pesa mobile app:
Follow the following steps to request your virtual Visa card:
You must download and install the M-Pesa app on your mobile device to use this method. The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is a default feature on the app; you only need to activate it.
Follow these steps to get the virtual Visa card through the app:
After you complete these steps, you will receive a confirmation message with your card number, expiry date, and CVV number. Click Show card details on the app menu to see your card details. You will be prompted to enter your M-Pesa PIN.
With all that done, your virtual Visa card will be ready to use. All you need to do is to fund your M-Pesa mobile money wallet.
Speaking of using the M-Pesa virtual Visa card:
You use your M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card like a physical Visa card when paying for goods and services online. Most online store and app checkout processes require you to enter your card number, expiry date, and CVV number.
As an example, the Netflix checkout page looks like this:
Most payment gateways will have Visa as a payment option. The InstaSend payment gateway, for example, will also have Mastercard, Bitcoin, and M-Pesa as payment options.
To pay using your M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card, choose Visa as your payment method and enter the card number, expiry date, and CVV number in the provided fields.
Safaricom stipulates that an ID number can only register one virtual Visa card. Changing your mobile number, thus, means you will need to cancel the old virtual Visa card before activating a new one under the new SIM.
Your M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card will become dormant if you don’t use it for 6 months. So to keep it, you have to use your virtual Visa card. However, you can reactivate it in the M-Pesa app or through USSD.
Perhaps to encourage usage of the Lipa na M-PESA local M-Pesa payment method, the M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card cannot be used locally. Not that it would make any sense to do so:
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card attracts a 3.5% foreign currency conversion charge. This fee is charged on the transaction value. Otherwise, customers aren’t charged for using the virtual Visa card for their online payments.
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card has a maximum transaction limit of Ksh 150,000 and a daily spending limit of Ksh 300,000. The minimum charge is pegged at $1 but its Ksh equivalent changes with exchange rate movement.
This also means what you pay in Ksh as foreign currency conversion fees depends on the exchange rate prevailing at the time of purchase.
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is not linked to a bank account. It is linked to your M-Pesa mobile money wallet. So, instead of the bank account, it deducts money from the balance on your M-Pesa mobile money wallet when you pay for something online.
Though it works the same way, you could say that the M-Pesa virtual Visa card is not a debit card in the traditional sense. However, we can say the virtual Visa card is not a credit card because it requires a balance that can cover the payment you want to make.
The M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card is also not linked to the Fuliza overdraft loan facility, which means you cannot use your Fuliza loan to pay for goods and services online through the virtual Visa card.
By offering the M-Pesa GlobalPay virtual Visa card, M-Pesa joined IntaSend as one of the few local fintechs offering a virtual Visa card. But unlike M-Pesa, IntaSend lets you choose between Visa and Mastercard as the virtual card issuer.
One wrinkle you will also not get with IntaSend that is a constant pain for M-Pesa and the GlobalPay virtual Visa card users is the transaction limits. IntaSend virtual Visa/Mastercard card has no spending limit, which means you can use it for big-ticket items, like when buying a car through Beforward.
Since virtual cards have no plastic card you can lose, they are more secure than physical cards. IntaSend takes security a notch higher with its virtual Visa card, thanks to bank-level security and PCI-DSS compliance.
The IntaSend virtual Mastercard and Visa cards are linked to the IntaSend digital wallet, which has many business-friendly features, perfect for freelancers and small business users.
Through your IntaSend digital wallet, you can request payment from customers and clients and get paid through our no-code payment links. This opens a funding source for the virtual Visa card, adding to M-Pesa and direct bank transfers.