Electronic Payments Gain Traction in Kenya

Electronic payments (e-payments) will transform Kenya’s retail market in the country in 2014 as usage increases, according to MasterCard East Africa vice president, James Wainaina.

“The market is shifting to be able to provide electronic payment services,” he told Kenya’s Capital FM Business. “Demand has already been created, so players on the supply side are working within the ecosystem to ensure that e-payments become a reality.”

Wainaina said that the Kenyan government’s decision to migrate to the cashless payment in all public institutions is also playing a major role as payments in the transport sector migrate to cashless form. All of Kenya’s public service vehicles (PSV) will operate a cashless fare payment system commencing 1 July.

“The other thing that is happening is that there are also a lot of contactless payment cards that are on issue, as well as tap-and-go devices that are also on the rise,” he added. This year would see contactless and tap-and-go devices are going to proliferate in the market.

Wainaina added: “We have more than 12m cards in this market but the usage of them is still very low so we still have an opportunity to sweat the existing merchant infrastructure even before we expand it and continue to create more demand for a near cashless society.”

However there remains much to be done, as statistics from 2012 indicate that Kenya’s economy was still running on 97% cash transactions. Although last November the country’s public institutions were given to 1 April to have electronic payment systems in place by the government, it appears that the target has not been met.

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