Equity Bank Boosts Cash Lite Economy with Launch of Prepaid Card

Equity Bank Kenya has announced the launch of a prepaid card in conjunction with MasterCard. The card, which is readily usable to pay for bus fare in Kenya in line with the recent government directives on cashless bus fare payment system is more than a travel card.

It is an all-purpose card that will be accepted for transactions and payments globally. On the travel front, Kenyans can get the cards for their own use, and they can also get it for their children to use for payment of their bus fare.

The prepaid card is being issued instantly and for free and is available to both Equity Bank account holders and non-equity bank account holders. The new prepaid card enables customers to pay for their shopping, pay bills in all retail outlets accepting Equity Cards and MasterCard, as well as withdraw cash at Equity ATMs in all the five countries where Equity Bank operates, and all ATMs worldwide that accept MasterCard. This means that the Equity Bank prepaid card is a global card and can be used to shop and pay in all retail outlets around the world that accept the leading payment cards in the world. The card is available in branches and Equity Agent locations. It is part of the bank’s efforts to support the national cash lite economy goals.

With the new Equity Bank Prepaid Card, the card holders will simply need to load convenient cash amounts at their nearest Equity branch or Agent, Equitel, Equity ATMs, and other mobile money channels such as Airtel and Mpesa. Once loaded, the card holder will enjoy cash withdrawals at any Equity Bank ATM or any other MasterCard accepting ATM globally. Holders of the Equity PrePaid card will also be able to use the card to pay their fare in trains, buses and taxis while travelling abroad.

On the local scene, Equity Bank CEO Dr. James Mwangi further confirmed that the EMV compliant Equity Bank Prepaid Card will also be used as a public transport payment solution.

The new card, he explained features the MasterCard contactless technology, which offers consumers a ‘tap and go’ option ideal for environments where speed and convenience matter most. Although new to Kenya, contactless payment technology is touted as the answer to those seeking fast yet secure modes of payment, and is supported by multi-level security protection.

“The Launch of an Equity Bank Prepaid Card in conjunction with MasterCard further confirms our commitment to deepen the local cashlite economy as part the Equity 3.0 strategy,” Dr Mwangi said. He also added that in order to give existing Equity bank account holders convenience, all other Equity cards ( Equity Visa card, Equity MasterCard with Paypass, Equity Amex cards) have also been enabled to pay for bus fare.

Equity Bank in partnership with Google, pioneered the innovation of cashless solution for the commuter sector in Kenya by launching the BebaPay card. In the face of the new transport law that requires that public transport fare migrates to cashless, and that all payment cards must be interoperable, Google has advised the BebaPay customers to replace their cards with the Equity Prepaid cards which are interoperable with other payment systems.

“At Equity Bank, we are sparing no effort to build solid bridges to create a pathway for digital financial inclusion while fuelling the growth of a cashlite economy that encourages electronic payments both for bills, transport and retail payments,” he added.

As part of this agenda, Dr Mwangi reiterated that the Bank is targeting a 96% transition to a cashless ecosystem for its customers.

The transition will also be anchored on the bank’s ongoing plans to commercially unveil its mobile virtual network operation in coming months.

In Kenya, MasterCard and Equity Bank have been working closely to develop systems that deliver the wide suite of advantages that electronic payments offer to consumers over cash, by focusing on solutions that help reduce costs, gain efficiencies, curtail fraud and corruption and advance social progress.

Through the partnership with MasterCard, Equity Bank rolled out the Social Safety Net Card to support cash transfer for The Hunger Safety Net Program (HSNP). HSNP is a cash transfer program that cushions vulnerable communities in Northern Kenya against extreme shocks of hunger and poverty. Every two months, beneficiaries receive KShs 4,600 through an Equity Bank Account. They use their Equity MasterCard to access their funds using biometric identification. More and more families are now living in dignity and having access to other basic services like education and health care because they are in a position to plan for their funds which remain safe and accessible in their Equity Bank accounts. HSNP is funded by the Government of Kenya, UKAid and Australian Aid. It is managed by the National Drought Management Authority under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning

In an effort to deepen financial inclusion among the youth, the Bank has rolled out a campus card in partnership with MasterCard for use by university and college students. The card is serving as the official university student card, and is a student’s personal identification while on campus. In addition, its features extend far beyond a simple university id – it also has the capacity to serve as the meal card, library card, access card and a debit card all in one. The campus card meets the Higher Education Loans Board standards of having intelligent wallets. The fee payment wallet is only accessible by swiping the card at HELB approved locations. Another wallet is available for the students maintenance and be accessed at any Equity Bank ATM and all other ATMs that accept MasterCard worldwide. The campus card is also enabled to tap and pay bus fare. Some of the universities that have already signed up for the campus card include African Nazarene, Kenya Methodist University (KeMU), Baraton University, Eldoret and Laikipia Universities. Students who sign up for the Campus card will have the option receive their HELB loans through their cards and swipe at their respective universities to pay for the fees.

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