MasterCard has announced the licensing of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) to issue MasterCard debit, credit and prepaid cards in Kenya. The collaboration is expected to increase the adoption of electronic payments in the country, especially in the retail banking sector.
James Wainaina, Vice President and Area Business Head, MasterCard East Africa said: “MasterCard’s vision for East Africa and the rest of Africa is a world beyond cash and we can only achieve this by working with industry partners that have a similar goal. As our nation moves towards being a cashless society, we are proud to work with GTBank as they move towards retail banking and whose retail focus will further the adoption of electronic payment systems in Kenya’s fast-growing retail sector.”
The West African bank’s recent entry into Kenya has seen it increase its portfolio from corporate focused banking to retail banking. The expansion of GTBank’s footprint into East Africa is a significant move that will see the conversion of existing retail payment products to those of MasterCard. It also demonstrates GTBank’s understanding of the region’s retail banking sector, which it sees as a key pinnacle for economic growth. The 2013 report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics lists the retail banking sector as a vibrant one whose growth is buoyed by the increasing urbanization of Kenyans, an expanding middle class and steadily improving financial literacy. In 2012 alone, the sector accounted for 15.2 % of the nation’s GDP, indicating an increasing appetite for card usage.
Commenting on the partnership, Adekunle Sonola, Managing Director, GTBank East Africa said: “As we move towards fully establishing a strong retail banking sector, we are pleased to collaborate with MasterCard, which is already working with industry stakeholders to develop market relevant payment products and solutions. Our newly established operations in East Africa will allow us to provide our customers with financial products that meet their evolving banking needs. As a bank that is passionate about innovation, we are pleased to work with MasterCard, an organization that is a leader in this area.”
The collaboration comes at a time when MasterCard is working in partnership with governments and financial institutions in Kenya and across the continent to broaden usage and acceptance of electronic payments, thus promoting their benefits relative to cash transactions of convenience, security and reliability.
As a result of this partnership, cardholders will enjoy access to over 36.9 million MasterCard Point of Sale terminals in over 210 countries and territories where MasterCard is accepted.