KCB cards roar in the park

September 29, 2009
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, NAIROBI, KENYA, Sept 29- Kenya Wildlife Services together with Kenya Commercial Bank on Tuesday introduced a new satellite mode of park fee payment set to use credit, debit and smart cards as opposed to cash.

KCB Chief Executive Officer Martin Oduor-Otieno said the point-of-sale terminus would be convenient for both local and international tourists as it was fast and secure.

“We will install these payment devices at 40 KWS outlets across the country which will accept visa and master cards as means of paying entry charges and other payment. It reduces the risk of KWS holding huge amounts of cash especially during the high season,” he explained.

Mr Oduor-Otieno added that the new electronic funds transfer system was easy to use promising that it would guarantee KWS smooth and quick processing.

“The fact that these devices are GPRS enabled makes them ideal for use anywhere and the processing time does not take more than 10 seconds,” he held.

Mr Oduor-Otieno further added that the bank would provide both technical and logistical support to the wildlife managing body adding that the payment system would accept dollar as well as shilling currencies.

“However, with time we will enable the money transfer system to accept currencies in other forms like the Euro and Pound,” he observed.
 
Mr Oduor-Otieno also noted that the transfer system would promote both local and international tourism in the country. 

“With over 1.5 million credit and debit card holders in Kenya, this arrangement promises to attract many local visitors which will boost revenue collection for KWS,” he noted.

Kenya Wildlife Director Julius Kipng\’etich, who tested the devices, also said the technology would go a long way towards leveraging the tourism industry. He added that KWS would accept credit cards from any bank to pay park entry fees.

“Europe and America, where most of our tourists come from, operate in a cashless society. When they come here and they are told toa pesa (pay up), of course they bring out their credit cards and we say ‘we only accept cash’. That gives us a bad image,” he explained.

He further called for the private sector to promote such initiatives as they would facilitate various businesses.

“This should have been done 30 years ago. It is a good venture as it facilitates the expansion of our portfolio’s mode of payment. We are part of changing the image of Kenya so using the appropriate technology will help us serve our clients well,” he observed.

Acquiring Manager KCB card center Paul Mutethia, said the devices would use the mobile phone technology adding that they would not require permanent plugging onto a power outlet.

“They are charged just like our mobile phones and they use our system using Safaricom and Zain networks. When you come with a MasterCard or a Visa card we will swipe it into our system. Then the transaction will be sent to the card holders’ bank through master or visa card system which then comes back to the terminal. After this you get a response, either a decline or an approval,” he explained.

They were speaking during the official launch of the new payment mode partnership at the Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters in Lang’ata.

So far, the terminals have been installed at five other pay-points including Nairobi Safari Walk, Kifaru Gift Shop, Nairobi Animal Orphanage, KWS headquarters cash office and the newly-rebranded Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha.

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