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Visa grows 21pc in Sub Saharan Africa

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Visa the leading electronic payments network, has reported a growth of 21 percent in payment volume across sub-Saharan Africa in 2010.

The increase in transaction volume followed a successful year for Visa extending its debit business in the region, with payment volume in Kenya on Visa debit cards increasing by 20.4 percent.

The company also continued to develop its debit partnerships with leading Kenyan-based banks aiming to grow the use of debit cards alongside other payment products.

Current partnerships with Kenyan banks issuing and acquiring Visa debit cards include: Bank of Africa, Barclays Bank, CFC Stanbic, Commercial Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust Bank, Equity Bank, Fidelity Commercial Bank, First Community Bank, Imperial Bank, I & M Bank and KCB Bank.

Others are PostBank Kenya, National Bank of Kenya, NIC Bank, Prime Bank, Equatorial Commercial Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Cooperative Bank, Trans-National Bank, EcoBank, UBA Kenya and Citi Bank.

“Debit represents a major growth driver, not only in Kenya, but around the world as Visa cardholders see the benefits and convenience of using these products,” says Victor Ndlovu, Country Manager for Kenya, Visa Sub – Saharan Africa.

“Debit provides cardholders the ease and flexibility to “pay now” using funds available, while managing their budgets and enjoying the security, reliability and convenience of using Visa.”

While globally debit cards have traditionally gained the greatest traction in merchant segments such as grocery, petrol/gasoline, restaurants and pharmacies, consumers are also beginning to realise the convenience of debit payments for categories such as insurance, utilities and telecommunications, typically paper based transactions.

Visa believes that access to secure electronic payments through products such as debit cards is a vital first step toward financial inclusion and economic growth and is critical to the development of strong, modern economies.  Electronic payments promote transparency and accountability, reduce transaction costs, increase the number of people with access to formal financial services, and decrease the size of the gray or informal economy. This is particularly relevant in the developing economies of Africa such as Kenya. 

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“The partnership with Kenyan banks is a reflection of the growing popularity of debit in the region. We have seen increased demand for products such as debit which allow cardholders to keep their spending within a budget while still providing them with access to their funds. Visa cardholders will also be able to experience the benefits and convenience of using debit cards, at tens of millions of merchants and 1.8 million ATMs,” concluded Mr Ndlovu.

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