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Kenya: Now Equity eyes ‘kiosk’ cash with smart card plan
Kenya: Now Equity eyes ‘kiosk’ cash with smart card plan

Kenya: Now Equity eyes ‘kiosk’ cash with smart card plan

RETAILER NEWS - Jan 16th 2013, 09:06

Equity Bank is eyeing the billions of shillings passing though kiosk and retail shops by offering a system that will allow shoppers to pay for goods without using cash. 

In a move that could change the face of retail market in Kenya, the bank, in partnership with MasterCard, on Tuesday said they would roll out mobile phones points of sale to enable cashless transactions.

“This will allow merchants and businesses to make transactions with ease and securely. The benefit to the bank is that people will not need to withdraw money to make transactions. They will do so by simply swiping their cards at points of sale,” Equity Bank’s chief executive officer James Mwangi said.

Already, the bank has started issuing out five million MasterCard branded payment cards to its customers, agents and merchants in what is set to intensify growing competition the card payments market that is dominated by Visa locally.

Transport payment card

The two will be the second to introduce the system after Google entered Kenya’s electronic payments market last year by introducing Beba Card, a transport payment card on Citi Hoppa buses on Nairobi routes using near field communication (NFC) technology.

The NFC is a wireless technology which enables devices to exchange information when in close range.

The technology is commonly installed on smartphones, which are then used to make payments in retail outlets.

According to MasterCard’s global chief executive officer, Mr Ajay Banga, the new cards will introduce MasterCard PayPass payment system, allowing card holders to tap their cards on the mobile phones points of sale to settle transactions.

Mr Banga said MasterCard will enhance its presence on the continent with the setting up of the first training centre in Africa to be based in Kenya.

The training centre will be used to develop the capacity of merchants, employees of the Payments Company and commercial banks to deepen the card payment system in the country.

Banks are increasingly moving to integrate electronic payment systems as the popularity of cards use in shopping increases among Kenyans.

Recent Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that the number of electronic payment cards increased to 10.6 million in the period ending November 2012, up from 9.6 million cards a year earlier.

Mobile money

CBK data showed that the value of transactions via cards increased to Sh907 billion in the one year period to November 2012, up from Sh577 billion a year earlier.

The banks are, however, competing with mobile money transactions, which stood at Sh1.39 trillion in the same period, compared with Sh907 billion transacted via cards in the period under review. 

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