Union54, a leading provider of cutting-edge digital financial solutions in Zambia, and Mastercard, a global payments technology company, have joined forces to launch a social commerce platform.
ChitChat is a social commerce platform developed by Union54 that allows consumers across Africa to communicate with one another over an encoded platform. The new app is expected to debut in September, and will offer secure messaging as well as dollar-based virtual cards created in collaboration with Mastercard Inc. to enable international transactions.
According to Union54 founder and CEO, Perseus Mlambo, the platform will also provide payment, gaming, dating, and food delivery services. Meanwhile, ChitChat’s card and payment features will be released in beta in Angola, Tanzania, and Ghana, with more markets to be added this year.
Furthermore, Mlambo expressed his excitement to announce the launch of Chitchat and its partnership with MasterCard. He emphasized that mobile payments and messaging apps can be a major driver of increased trade across Africa affirming that Union54 has built a platform that integrates payments into chat, providing everyone with a USD card on demand.
Mastercard and ChitChat have deepened their partnership by integrating Mastercard’s payment and USD debit card features into ChitChat. This will allow Mastercard to issue cards in African markets, starting with Angola, Tanzania, and Ghana.
Gabriel Swanepoel, Country Manager at Mastercard Southern Africa, said that Mastercard has taken steps to address the issues that were seen with Union54. This means that ChitChat users can be confident that their transactions are secure.
However, Union54 is an African financial technology company that offers card issuing services in partnership with licensed card issuers in different countries. The Zambian startup has worked with clients such as Barter, Eversend, GetEquity, PayDay, Vesti, Busha, Flutterwave, PayDay, Plumter, and Bitmama.
In July 2022, Union54, an official Mastercard virtual dollar card issuer in Africa, was hit with a $1.2 billion chargeback fraud. This ultimately led to the shutdown of its virtual dollar card product.
Nonetheless, Union54’s API allowed companies to provide debit card options to their customers and employees without the need for a bank or a third-party processor.