Union54 rebounds with social commerce platform, ChitChat partnering with Mastercard

ChitChat is a social commerce platform which offers a secure messaging paired with dollar-based virtual cards

Union54 rebounds with social commerce platform, ChitChat partnering with Mastercard

Union54, a leading provider of innovative digital financial solutions, and Mastercard, a global payments' technology company, have partnered to launch social commerce platform

ChitChat is a social commerce platform developed by Union54 that enables consumers across Africa to chat with each other over an encrypted platform.

The new app, which may debut in September, offers secure messaging paired with dollar-based virtual cards that it developed in partnership with Mastercard Inc. to allow international transactions, according to Union54 founder and chief executive Perseus Mlambo. It also plans to provide payments, gaming, dating and food delivery services on the platform.

ChitChat’s card and payments features will roll out in a beta for Angola, Tanzania, and Ghana, with more markets being added this year.

We are excited to announce our ChitChat product and, at the same time, announce our expanded partnership with Mastercard.” said Perseus Mlambo, CEO of Union54.

We believe that mobile payments and chat platforms can be a powerful force for increasing trade across Africa, and we are committed to building a platform that accelerates this. We’ve built payments into a chat platform, giving everyone a USD card on demand – on our terms.”

Mastercard’s integration into ChitChat’s payments and USD Debit Card features represents a deepening of their partnership to enable the issuance of cards in African markets, beginning with Angola, Tanzania, and Ghana.

Gabriel Swanepoel, Country Manager at Mastercard, Southern Africa added: “We’ve gone through quite an extensive program to ensure the issues that we were seeing with Union54 have been addressed.” ChitChat users will have confidence to transact freely with the security of Mastercard’s support.

Union54 is an African financial technology company offering card issuing services in partnership with licensed card issuers in their respective countries. The Zambian startup has worked with clients like 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 challenged with a $1.2 billion chargeback fraud which ultimately led to the shutdown of its virtual dollar card product.

The startup’s API allowed companies to provide debit cards option to their customers and employees without needing a bank or a third-party processor.

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