Mastercard has acquired South African FinTech startup, Oltio. The mobile payments technology company was previously owned by Standard Bank Group.

Oltio is known, among others, for its patented payments authentication technology.

“We have had a great relationship with Mastercard over the years, and believe that Oltio will thrive as part of an issuer-independent payments company with Mastercard’s vast global resources and innovative technology,” said Andrew Wilmot, executive, Group Card and Emerging Payments at Standard Bank.

Mastercard says the acquisition of Oltio, with whom they've had a working relationship with for a while, from Standard Bank will help it leverage the FinTech startup's technology, people and infrastructure to enhance and scale its existing suite of digital solutions for merchants and issuers in cash-orientated, emerging markets – in turn, enabling them to deliver more seamless payment experiences to the consumer. Mastercard has been on a mission of deploying their Masterlass QR payments technology in 2018,having recently announced partnerships and deployments in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania.

“Too many consumers and merchants in the MEA [Middle East and Afrika] region are stuck in a cash economy that doesn’t work for them. By combining our joint expertise, technologies and reach, we can bridge the divide between the region’s cash economies and the digital future, bringing the benefits of digital payments to more people and businesses,” said Mark Elliott, division president for Mastercard, Southern Africa.

Mastercard says, with the acquisition of Oltio, it will enhance and scale its omni-channel acceptance solutions for merchants, enabling some of the smallest businesses to accept digital payments using technology such as QR codes. An interesting implementation of Mastercard's QR code technology to enable a business to accept digital payments can be found in Nigeria where the global payments company is using a Facebook Messenger bot to allow businesses to accept QR code payments.