Testing out Zazu Virtual Cards

Testing out Zazu Virtual Cards

Electronic payments have changed the way we consume as humans - go back to the early 2000s where the unlikely collaboration of PayPal and eBay changed the way we purchase goods forever. Easily attributed to the continuous growth of online purchases and e-commerce around the world is the debit card. As a primary payment method of choice for consumers around the world, the convenience and ease of use debit cards offer have made them ideal for use in e-commerce. As fintech companies all over scramble to innovate and provide users with state of the art products to not only spur financial inclusion but improve the payments workflows too, Zazu like the trailblazer it is has taken a step in that direction with its introduction of virtual cards.

As a Zazu super-fan, I had the chance to test the updated app with the new virtual cards and I’m more than excited to share everything with you.

Before we get into what virtual cards are, I want us to take a step into the past and talk about debit cards. The concept of debit cards isn’t rocket science - they are cards that let you transfer money electronically from your bank account whenever you make a purchase. Nothing more and if you want, less.

Cutting into the definition I want us to pay attention to one word - bank. You need to have a bank account to use a debit card. This can be counterproductive when your aim is inclusion. How do you accommodate the un-banked in our new internet economy? Quick answer? Zazu Virtual Cards - we’ll go a little more in-depth after looking at what else is wrong with debit cards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like debit cards. I have my fair share of them in my wallet. However, with the widespread use of debit cards for online transactions come a few concerns. Traditionally, banks controlled the distribution of debit cards, and as I alluded to earlier they acted as a means of accessing money in your account. This meant our entire bank account was accessible through a tiny 4-inch piece of plastic. Magical, until it wasn't. Theft and fraud have always been issues with debit cards - as easy as it is for you to access your money, it is for someone else. Take that away - rolling subscriptions meant sometimes you inevitably spent your rent money on Netflix.

Virtual Cards exist to do away with many of the problems associated with physical debit cards. A virtual debit card is a set of 16 randomly assigned digits associated with your Zazu account. It’s just like with a normal debit card, except, you know, virtual. This means you can create them for specific uses and/or limited a limited time which makes them very flexible in how and what they can be used (for).

Benefits of virtual cards

As seen above, the primary benefits of a virtual card are convenience, transparency, and security. Virtual cards can be ready instantly, can be turned off at any time, and don’t run the risk of being misused by an untrained employee.

Virtual cards’ fraud-busting capabilities are especially attractive to subscription companies, which often see recurring charges victimizing customers who did not authorize or no longer need certain services. These cards’ limited time usage eliminates that risk.

As I mentioned, I’ve spent some time using the Zazu Virtual Cards, I’ll walk you through them.

For starters, you should download the Zazu Mobile App. If you already have it, updating it should do the trick.

Let’s use some virtual cards?

After downloading (or updating) the Zazu app, log in with your credentials when presented with the login screen seen above. If you don’t have an account, you can create one inside the application in less than 5 minutes.

After logging into the application. You’ll be presented with a dashboard-like screen like the one you above (don’t mind my low balance). Here we have access to various services on the Zazu app. Today we’re dealing with cards - navigate to the cards section by clicking (or pressing) “Cards" at the bottom of your screen.

The cards section gives you some information on the brand new Zazu virtual cards. You’re prompted to create a new card so do just that. Click “Get a new card" to start the process.

Zazu teases its physical debit cards; another Zazu product I hope to cover soon. Select the Zazu Virtual Card as your card type.

I see myself using single-use cards for apps I wanna try out or services I know can sometimes charge extra fee or simply.. single-use purchases. This time, however, we’ll go with a 30-day card here. You’re free to do otherwise, understandably your circumstances might be different.

We’ll have to add our billing information now for compliance reasons. Fill in your address details and make sure they’re accurate. Select continue and you’re ready to use your brand new 30-day virtual card.

Your virtual card looks like this. From top to bottom we’ve got...

  • Your 16 digit card number - try and keep this private
  • Your card validity - remember our card has a 30-day validity after which it will expire.
  • Your CVV number - CVV short for Card Verification Value is a security feature that is used to authorize transactions. Like your 16 digit number, keep this VERY private.

For additional security, Zazu also lets us freeze our virtual cards and update our CVV numbers. If you think your card details were compromised, these are two very useful features to make sure your money doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Freezing our Zazu virtual cards renders them unusable. Like I mentioned, should you want to disable your card to protect your account funds. This is a very useful feature. It’s worth pointing out that freezing your card is reversible. You can freeze and unfreeze your cards at your convenience as shown above.

Virtual cards are allocated to different accounts. I have three different accounts in my Zazu wallet, an Online expenses account and a Food account. At the moment you can only have one virtual card for all your accounts and I hope (I pray) this changes in the future.

To be honest that’s all you need to know about using your virtual card. Right now you must be asking “but where can I use this beautiful creation?" I’ve got a couple of use cases for you.

  • Mvesesani: If you’re a music head like me, you could use your card to get some tunes by Chanda Mbao, and if Mvesesani isn’t your jazz. Your card should work just fine on Deezer.
  • Udemy: Trying to level up and learn a new skill? Trying to ace that exam? Buy a course on Udemy.
  • Amazon: Get your significant other that gift they’ve been crying for, odds are it’s somewhere on Amazon.
  • Netflix: Take the weekend off and binge some Nollywood. I hear Skin is good.
  • Google Play Store: Need more lives on Candy Crush? Your virtual card is here to help.
  • Airbnb: You could book that holiday in Lower Zambezi that you’ve been telling yourself you need.

As you’ve probably got by now, you could use your virtual card for so much!


If you didn’t get it already, I’m very excited about this new feature because I think the Zazu team have a few more tricks up their sleeve with this act. Zazu Virtual Cards are amazing because of Zazu; take 5 minutes to sign up for the app and anyone with an ID and a smartphone has access to not only electronic financial services but a virtual debit card too? There’s more to come. If you want to keep track of my adventures with Zazu (there will be more) follow both me (@malgamves) and Zazu (@ZazuAfricaHQ) on Twitter and tell us what you’re using your virtual card for or just say hello if you’re up to it.