The fintechs sent emails to their customers on Friday notifying them of this service’s unavailability from the 17th of July, 2020.
The fintechs all claim this service disruption is due to an update from their card partner.
“Effective Sunday 17 July 2022, all our Virtual Dollar cards will be unavailable for any transactions and purchases.” an email from Barter by Flutterwave read.
The company has also advised customers to unlink their Dollar Card(s) from any recurring payments, and replace them with another payment method.
Busha, an African cryptocurrency exchange, said its Busha card service would be paused from Monday, 18th of July, 2022 due to “a result of factors from its card partner,” beyond its control.
According to preliminary investigations, some of these fintechs use Union54 as their card partner which may be the root of the problem. The current virtual dollar card outage reported by tens of fintechs is believed to be due to Union54’s downtime.
The company has not made any official statement and this is just speculation.
Founded by Perseus Mlambo and Alessandra Martini in 2020, Union54 provides an API for any company to issue virtual and physical cards without a bank partner or card processor is a debit card issuing API for fintech and corporates. Based in Zambia, it provides BIN sponsorship, transaction processing, and settlement. The company was spun off from a previous company, ZAZU, a challenger bank launched six years ago.
According to Benjamindada.com, a founder in one of the affected fintechs says the downtime might be down for six to ten weeks. “A recurring theme I have heard from speaking with founders is that Union54 is trying to resolve some issues with Mastercard.”
We will update more as the story develops.