VISA joins Kenswitch network

February 18, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – Kenswitch has entered into an agreement with I&M bank in a move that will see VISA branded cards accepted at all Kenswitch Automated Teller Machines (ATM) countrywide.

Kenswitch General Manager George Wainaina said that under the terms of the agreement, the Kenswitch network of over 200 ATMs in 50 towns across Kenya would now facilitate cash withdrawal and balance enquiry transactions for both locally issued and international VISA cards.

“This is an important value addition for VISA card holders as it will eliminate the time wasted on queues and facilitate regular travellers who may not always find their bank ATMs wherever they go,” said Mr Wainaina. 

I&M Bank Chief Executive Officer Arun Mathur said that I&M was routing the transactions to the VISA network on behalf the Kenswitch network.

Mr Mathur said VISA cardholders would identify the ATMs that are providing the service by looking out for the Kenswitch logo as well as that of VISA and VISA Electron logos.

He pointed out that the service would be particularly important for business travellers and tourists who don’t have local cards but want to access cash wherever they are within the country. Individuals whose banks are not members of Kenswitch will also benefit from the addition to the Kenswitch portfolio.

Mr Mathur said the presence of the UN office in Nairobi and the location of hundreds of international NGOs including those operating in Southern Sudan within the country made this service particularly relevant.

Under the Kenswitch model, the participating institutions deploy the ATMs and earn fees when third party cardholders perform transactions on their ATMs.  With the signing on of VISA, the Kenswitch network will now process an additional 1.5 million local VISA cards and another one million international cards in addition to the over one million Kenswitch cards already in the market.

Kenswitch has been on a re-branding mission since June last year with a series of product launches designed to give its card holders more convenience and control over their finances.

The company launched point of sale last June to enable its cardholders purchase goods and services without the need for physical cash.

The service is available countrywide and uses a pin to secure transactions rather than the traditional signature thereby assuring both the buyer and the merchant security against fraud.

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