Starting in Botswana, Orange has introduced a service in partnership with Visa designed to let the telecom company's subscribers have easy access to funds 24 hours a day and provide them with new point-of-sale, online and ATM transaction options.

The new service, which will be rolled out progressively to other countries in Africa and the Middle East, is being offered in conjunction with the recently introduced international money transfer service Orange Money. Money allows Orange customers to use their mobile phones to transfer funds to any mobile phone subscriber in or outside their country, buy airtime, and pay bills. The Orange Money account will be linked with Visa to make Visa-enabled payments.

The service, which will be rolled out to 19 other African countries, will benefit the large population of people who do not have bank accounts and have not had the opportunity to sign up for Visa cards, since most Visa cards are issued by banks in Africa.

"I am proud to announce this world's first launch that will give unbanked population access to a Visa card and to all related services thanks to their Orange Money account," says Thierry Millet, director of the strategic NFC and payment programs at Orange, in a release.