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Credit card market widens

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – NIC Bank says there is a growing market for credit cards in Kenya.

Director of Personal Banking James Wainaina said on Tuesday that the growth in the market was attributed to customers who are now realising the benefits of a credit card.

Speaking while launching a new credit card into the market, dubbed the Gold Card, Wainaina said technological advances as well as the introduction of 3G Internet had led to deeper penetration of credit cards.

"Card usage in Kenya has drastically increased, with an ever-expanding middle class and consistent financial education.  Kenyans are travelling, while increased exposure to the Internet and awareness of the cashless culture of credit is cultivating the concept of online shopping, thus the increased uptake of cards," said Mr Wainaina.

He said the bank was expecting to double its customer base within the next two years, further revealing that the credit card segment was contributing 10 percent towards the bank\’s annual revenues.

Gerald Hawkins, Group General Manager for Visa Africa said a study commissioned by Visa showed that credit card usage would contribute one percent to the Kenyan economy every year.

Mr Hawkins added: "The launch of this product will continue to make safe and convenient payments an everyday occurrence for Kenyans. This will have significant social benefits for cardholders, promote economic growth, and assist in bringing more people into the banking system."

The new card has an interest rate of 2.5 percent, the same as the Freedom Credit card from the same bank.

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