More businesses in Kenya are embracing cashless payments as security of the system is enhanced and Kenyans see the benefits of using it.
The businesses that are embracing the payments include petrol stations, supermarkets, hotels, hospitals and even small ones like groceries, chemists, cybercaf?s and public transport vehicles.
Two forms of cashless payments are gaining currency in the East African nation: these are debit cards and mobile money payments.
While many of the big establishments are accepting both debit cards and mobile money payments, small businesses are purely using the latter because it requires little investment to install the infrastructure to use.
The acceptance of cashless payments has made Kenyans to increasingly pay their bills using their debit cards and mobile money.
The debit cards have become a popular form of payment after banks in the East African nation completed issuing them out last year to replace ATM cards.
The debit cards are more versatile and secure as they are EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) compliant, allowing Kenyans to shop using them while they also use the gadgets to withdraw money from banks.
On the other hand, Kenya’s leading telecom Safaricom has made deliberate efforts to spread the use of mobile money as a payment mode as it recruits more Lipa na M-Pesa merchants, whose number now stands at over 32,000.
“We started accepting mobile money payments about four months ago after our customers asked for them,” Beatrice Nyasoro, an assistant at a chemist in Nairobi, said Sunday.
Nyasoro recounted that some customers would come and demand to pay via mobile money.
“They would leave because we had not embraced cashless payments. When we realized we were losing a lot of business because of our failure to accept the payments, we informed the owner and he applied for a pay bill number,” she said.
According to Nyasoro, the acceptance of debit cards and mobile money payments has not only given their customers the power to choose how to pay, it has also seen them grow their income.
“Some customers come here and pay half cash and half via mobile money. This is money we would not be getting if we had stuck with cash only.”
All the major supermarkets in the capital Nairobi and across the country have installed systems to enable their customers use debit or credit cards and mobile money. However, only debit cards and mobile money payments are extensively being used as Kenyans keep off credit cards.
“I do not remember the last time I carried cash to supermarket because my debit card is doing all the work. I shop and then go the counter and pay. The only problem is that it takes time to process debit and mobile money payments as compared to using cash. This can be inconveniencing,” said media worker Habil Karanja.
Fred Muia, director of technical services at Kenya Bankers Association, last week noted that the EMV cards have eliminated fraud as the gadgets are more secure thus encouraging use.
There are over 12.2 million debit cards in the East African nation transacting over 1.2 billion U.S. dollars every month, according to the country’s central bank. Enditem