Mastercard has partnered Nigerian startup NetPlus to create a digital payments solution for e-commerce, in a bid to help the e-commerce space move away from cash payments to fully online transactions.

According to Mastercard, the African e-commerce sector is “plagued by cash”, with the majority of payments being made in cash at the point of delivery. This prompted the organisation to partner Nigerian startup NetPlus to develop the bespoke e-commerce solution.

The Mastercard e-commerce solution provides a digital escrow service which provides peace of mind to the consumer, retailer, and delivery service provider.

Consumers can pre-authorise a payment when placing their order online, and the amount in held until delivery is completed.

The e-retailer dispatches the goods via a delivery service, and the delivery provider is able to use the Mastercard e-commerce app to authorise the release of the payment once the consumer inspects the package and approves.  The consumer provides the last digits of their bank card to verify the approval.

If the consumer is dissatisfied with their package the transaction can be voided and the funds immediately released.

e-Commerce solution explained in video

“Cash has held the [e-commerce] sector back from reaching its full potential in Africa,” says Omokehinde Adebanjo, vice president and area business head for West Africa at Mastercard.

“We have invested a great deal of energy and resources to develop a workable solution that will meet the diverse needs of merchants and consumers across the continent, and world. It is fitting that our partnership with NetPlus, an African-born tech company, has resulted in us achieving our goal of digitizing the e-commerce sector.”

The partnership with NetPlus comes as a result of the startup’s participation in the Mastercard Start Path Programme – a virtual six month accelerator for banking and payments startups.  NetPlus was the first African startup selected for the programme.

“The [e-commerce] solution comes with extensive benefits for merchants and consumers,” says Wole Faroun, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of NetPlus.

“For e-retailers, the pre-authentication reflects commitment on the part of the consumer to the purchase, as well as guarantees real time payment and improved liquidity. Consumers benefit from renewed confidence in online shopping, peace of mind as the payment is only processed on delivery without the need for cash.”