The user case of Debit/Credit cards in Kenya

Many in Kenya, I included, are reluctant to use their cards, whether debit or credit, to settle online transactions. It’s an issue of trust. Trusting these entities with your bank details. How trustworthy are they to keep this info confidential and not use it for malice? How secure is their system to keep at bay all cyber criminals?

This does not apply to online e-commerce stores only. It also applies to local stores like our fuel service stations. We all remember the encounter of a driver with a rogue Shell fuel attendant. The driver smelt something fishy when the attendant ran his card over a suspicious looking device that was strategically placed below the POS terminal. When confronted by the driver the attendant panicked and took to his heels. As they say the rest is history. Not all individuals are as keen as this particular client. How many innocent citizens have fallen for this fraudulent act? This is a case where one uses a device known as a skimmer to steal an unsuspecting customer’s card information and later on use it to authorise purchases and illegal cash withdrawals!

We have also heard of cases where local bank agents used to mine your info when you visited them to make a withdrawal using your magnetic strip card. Thanks to the chip-and-pin technology that has been tamed.

Then came the Nakumatt Global card; a two in one card. It is both a loyalty card and a prepaid card. I use the DTB Nakumatt Global Card. A Master Card that I have used effortlessly to make purchases both online and at local stores. A card so perfectly linked to my mobile number such that I get instant alerts when a transaction is executed. That’s not all. You get access to multiple wallets. You can convert your currencies from one wallet to the other at fair exchange rates.

Loading the card is the biggest challenge I face. Visiting the nearest Nakumatt store to load it isn’t necessarily efficient. Using M-pesa paybill number is expensive. Why should I be charged to top up my card? The other alternative is transferring funds from your DTB account to your card. But guess what? They also charge! The only way to top up your card that will not cost you a dime is visiting the nearest Nakumatt store.

In comes prepaid cards from Safaricom and Airtel, though Safaricom card is still in development. Cards that will be linked to your mobile wallets. Cards that are enabled for online payment, at list for the Airtel card. You only need to visit the nearest agent to top up your card and its totally free!

These three prepaid cards offer a convenience and sense of security that is hard to achieve with either a debit or credit card. The prepaid cards are not linked to your account. You only top them up with the amount you need to use. The instant notifications help you keep track of all transactions performed on them.

Mr. Felix227 Posts

A Math Nerd and a Computer Geek. Currently a Windows 10 Insider. Interested in AI, big data and AR/VR. Takes a keen interest in developments in the tech, business and social media spheres.


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