Ethiopia-based Hibret Bank and Mastercard have introduced the prepaid Hibir Mastercard services in a move to drive financial digitisation in Ethiopia.

Designed for better convenience and security, the new service facilitates international card banking experiences.

It will allow customers to access and leverage foreign currency for overseas travels and transactions worldwide, wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Ethiopia’s third-party processor Premier Switch Solutions backed the launch of the Prepaid Hibir Mastercard.

Hibret Bank CEO Ato Melaku Kebede said: “At Hibret Bank, strategic alliances and technology are not just part of our operations; they are what drive us forward. Launching the Prepaid Hibir Mastercard in collaboration with Mastercard is a testament to this, marking a significant step towards our mission of digital financial inclusion.

“By leveraging our in-house technological capabilities for projects like our mobile banking app and core banking system upgrades, we not only foster local innovation but also enhance our service security and customer experience.”

The prepaid Hibir Mastercard offers a dual-interface feature supporting contact and contactless transactions. This makes it a feasible financial tool for both ATM withdrawals and point-of-sale purchases.

Customers are also allowed to top up funds at any Hibret Bank branch as required with its reloadable feature.

According to Mastercard, the new offering provides users with a secure and user-friendly solution to address the changing needs of customers engaging in foreign trade, travel, and other cross-border transactions.

Mastercard senior vice president and East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands country manager Shehryar Ali said: “Our collaboration with Hibret Bank for the Prepaid Hibir Mastercard service is a reflection of our commitment to fostering financial inclusion and digitisation not just in Ethiopia, but across Africa.

“This service is more than just a payment solution; it is a bridge for Ethiopians to access the global market with ease and security.”

In February this year, Mastercard and financial services arm of African mobile network operator MTN Group, MTN Group Fintech partnered to launch a prepaid virtual card for its MoMo wallet customers.