Our Story

From a Johannesburg office, to the world stage

In 1998 the Internet was new. And, so were we. Big dreams aside, Tutuka consisted of a fax machine, a computer, a table, and two people in a small office in Johannesburg. Today, our footprint spans more than 25 emerging markets, across four continents, with staff in 29 countries.

  • 22 years
    making payments
    happen
  • 33 countries
    fully covered,
    and counting
  • 1031 million
    transactions
    processed

Make it happen, easy and right

A simple three-point philosophy that guides us in everything we do.

  • Make it happen

    We love solving problems and making things work. By making payments happen around the world, we have the power to change lives for the better.
  • Make it easy

    We find simple solutions to complicated problems; handling all the technical details, so you can focus on your business.
  • Make it right

    We never give up until it’s right. Doing things properly is simply in our hearts. It lets us change the world, one seamless transaction at a time.

22 years of can-do: The Tutuka Story

  • Tutuka founded in Johannesburg, South Africa

    By Rowan and Shaun. We weren’t 100% sure exactly how we were going to revolutionise the way people process payments on a global scale, but we were fiercely determined to do whatever it took to find out.

  • A brave, new, online world

    Having looked at this new-fangled “Internet” idea, we foresaw that people would go online to find things to buy. We envisioned a system where printed coupons (powered by our products, of course) would be taken into stores en masse and exchanged for goods.

  • Vouching for people

    We were onto something. Soon, companies started to approach us, asking if we could come up with ways to digitise, track, and barcode their often Stone-Age, paper-based, in-store voucher systems. We told all comers, “Of course we can!” Then, we set about figuring out how…

  • Tutuka creates its own software

    As volumes grew, we had to find newer, better ways to make things happen and to make things easy. So, we launched our very own software system called VoucherEngine, to help us manage and set up campaigns, and to start processing transactions.

  • A magnetic personality

    Soon, we had our new systems working like well-oiled machines and – on the back of these successes – we were asked if we could create magstripe-enabled gift cards. Once again we replied, “Of course we can!” And so we did.

  • Card masters

    Within six months, we were issuing Mastercard-enabled gift cards. This would go on to form a large part of the backbone of our business as it exists today. Presently, the vast majority of magnetised gift, reward and incentive cards in South Africa are Tutuka-powered.

  • Pioneering with PINs

    Next, we were asked to make these Mastercards work in an ATM. So, we had to learn how to create and issue PINs. As we do, we made it happen. We entered the world of PINs with Standard Bank Travel Wallet, groundbreakingly democratising access to digital banking for whole sectors of society.

  • The world came to Africa!

    What a year! South Africa hosted the FIFA World Cup… and Tutuka scored! We powered the Visa card machines that were placed in the stadiums, and began distributing virtual cards across multiple currencies. This was our very first Visa card.

  • A seat at the table

    We were given direct connections into Mastercard and Visa; a level of access usually reserved for banks. We started processing cards in different currencies, as well as virtual cards that customers could use online.

  • From Africa to everywhere

    Turning our focus to the globe, we met with Visa, Mastercard and some banks to identify opportunities to compete at a global level. As it happened, Orange – a telco based in Paris – had immediate need of a Visa card solution in Botswana, linked to their mobile money account…

  • Launch with Orange Botswana

    2013 was a year of firsts. Our first card outside of South Africa, first virtual card, first mobile companion card, and our first partnership with a new bank. During our expansion into Zimbabwe and Botswana, we began to understand our true potential to affect lives for the better.

  • Changing things… for good

    We launched a companion card in Zimbabwe for Ecocash; allowing many Zimbabweans to buy online for the first time, import goods, and even start businesses. Financial inclusion remains a great passion and purpose of this company. 2014 was also momentous, as a stake of the company was bought by Actis and PayCorp.

  • Thailand and Southeast Asia

    It wasn’t long before we expanded into Southeast Asia. We opened offices in Thailand, which remains one of our most important epicentres. Quickly, we became Mastercard’s largest virtual card provider in Southeast Asia, with a presence spanning Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, and growing.

  • A global citizen

    Our global activity grew in earnest; with some Tutukans' passports rapidly running out of pages. Islamabad, Barcelona, New York… We also grew our presence in Africa, with the launch of Orange Money Cameroon. Our first contract was signed in Pakistan. And, we went live in Zambia with Airtel.

  • At the forefront

    Tutuka became part of the first external live Mastercard biometric pilot in the world. We also signed a global agreement with Mastercard, giving us worldwide reach across a wide range of products.

  • The Middle East and Latin America

    With clients in the Middle East, we also have a company with offices in Dubai called Tutuka International. And, we now operate in our newest region; Latin America. By this stage, we had clearly seen a pattern repeating… we’re good at operating in emerging markets!

  • More big deals

    Noteworthy deals included a prepaid card in Singapore for EZLink – the transit operator that runs the cards for every bus and train, our first account-win of this size. Then we sealed big deals with Octopus Hong Kong, and Grab – Southeast Asia’s Uber-equivalent. No longer just South African, we are now a truly global company.

  • Onward… together!

    We’re proud of all that we have achieved over the last 22 years. But we’re also humbled by it, because we know we’ve only come this far thanks to great clients and partners. Together, we’ll continue to make it happen, make it easy, and make it right. That’s how we’ve gotten to where we are today. And, it’s how we’ll continue to forge new paths to a better tomorrow for everyone whose lives we touch.

Our culture

We’re Tutukans. We love people, we’re curious by nature, and we get excited by those challenges that can unlock positive change on a global scale. We’ve always embraced a culture of inclusion, because diverse viewpoints let us see a much bigger picture. We’re remote-first, adaptable, resilient incrementalists; always searching for new ways to delight our clients as we become better every day.

Join us at Tutuka Explore career opportunities

Lives changed for good


Giving back and changing lives

For more than 20 years we’ve been sharing our success with those around us by giving back to the local communities in which we operate. Not because it’s “hip’, but because it’s simply who we are.

See how we change lives


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