|Monday, 25 July 2016 09:15
|M-Pesa to launch debit card
Mobile money service ramps up competition with banks
Mobile money service M-Pesa is increasing its competition with banks by issuing its own contactless debit card in Kenya.
The NFC product is the first plastic card that Vodafone-owned M-Pesa has issued and it will compete for a slice of the US$13.5bn in card transactions that are made in Kenya per year.
The Lipa Na M-Pesa card is currently being trialled with staff at Vodafone’s Safaricom telco operation in Kenya prior to a full rollout.
Competition between M-Pesa and Kenyan banks is growing increasingly fierce. In June, banks launched the Integrated Payments Service Limited (IPSL). The new company will offer an inter-operable mobile money transfer service for all lenders, enabling direct transfer of funds between banks without using M-Pesa.
By March this year, over Sh20bn (E178.06m) in payments had been made on the Lipa Na M-Pesa platform.
Over 44,000 merchants now accept the service, up 74% on March 2015. Eight out of ten payments in Kenya are still made with cash, leaving plenty of scope for expansion in new payment methods.