The Visa Chip and Pin campaign seeks to encourage consumers to use their EMV chip cards which are safer from counterfeit and fraud activities.
Visa General Manager, East and Southern Africa, Jabu Basopo says that there is need to secure card transactions against fraud which has in the past cost the banking industry billions of shillings in losses.
Basopo says as opposed to magnetic stripe technology, a chip is difficult to crack saving banks and consumers from losing money through fraud.
“Using debit cards for everyday purchases offers greater security, control and convenience than transacting with cash; it is also one way of ensuring personal finances are managed effectively with minimal costs for the cardholder,” said Basopo.
The 2013 Kenya Financial Sector Stability Report by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) indicated an increase in usage of cards at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and at Point of Sale (POS) terminals. According to the report, the number of active cards increased from 10.7 million in 2012 to 11.5 million in 2013.
The number of Point of Sale (POS) terminals grew by 14.1 percent from 18,478 terminals in 2012 to 21,089 terminals in 2013 due to wide acceptance of settlements through payment cards by merchants and expansion of the merchants as well.
According to the report, total number of cards, both credit and debit, stood at 11.5 million in December 2013 compared to 10.7 million in December 2012. Out of these 8.3 million are Visa cards.
The increased uptake and usage of cards may be attributed to the growing middle class who prefer cards to cash and migration of the industry to Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards leading to growing acceptance of cards as a safe and convenient mode of payment.