SBM Bank Partners with UnionPay to Rollout Debit and Prepaid Cards in Kenya

SBM Bank has partnered the leading global payment network UnionPay International to roll out its UnionPay Prepaid Card. The partnership with SBM Bank enables cardholders of UnionPay prepaid card to leverage on UnionPay’s global footprint to make both online and real-time purchases. UnionPay cards are accepted in 174 countries and regions with 55 million merchants and over 2.9 million ATMs making it ideal for travelers and tourists.

According to SBM Group Chairman Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing, this UnionPay card is especially ideal for SMEs looking to trade with China which is one of the leading markets for African produce and also acts as a key source market for various goods. Mr. Li Kwong Wing says that the pre-paid card will also offer additional security for travelers and online buyers shielding them from online fraud and the erosion of their savings.

“Prepaid cards are a secure way of making payments online and while traveling. With China increasingly becoming a leading trade partner for Kenya and wider African continent, this particular UnionPay prepaid card will eventually have a Yuan wallet enabling users to make direct purchases from China and shielding them from forex losses.” Mr. Li Kwong Wing added.

According to UnionPay International’s Africa General Manager Luping Zhang, the UnionPay Prepaid Card is a part of UnionPay’s plans to expand its footprint across the continent and enable safe and secure payments with Chinese businesses. UnionPay is already accepted in over 50 African markets.

“We are looking to partner with banks such as SBM Bank to enable Kenyan businesses gain direct access to the Chinese market through our card-based payment systems. Electronic payment systems offer a secure and verifiable mode of payment for both traders and customers especially for those transacting online. The card is also ideal for travelers who can utilize the card across 174 countries and regions.” Mr. Luping added.

The cards will be issued by SBM Bank as shilling denominated cards with plans to add a Yuan and Dollar wallet in the near future. Customers will be able to top up the card at SBM Bank Branches, via SBM’s Mfukoni APP, Online Banking and Via MPesa. Though the card has no cash limit top ups are limited to Kes. 750,000 a day while users are allowed to set their own spending limits especially when traveling and transacting online.

Under the partnership will also see SBM Bank issue UnionPay Debit cards to their customers enabling them utilize the cards at retail outlets without incurring any transaction charges. According to SBM Bank Chief Executive Moezz Mir, the card will come with enhanced features enabling ease of use by deploying technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFS) to further enhance the user experience. NFS enables the user to tap and pay as opposed to swiping or inserting cards to machines to make payments.

“From a security perspective, we have deployed a robust continuous fraud monitoring system to detect suspicious activity on your SBM UnionPay Debit Card. The card also has a 3-digit security code (CVN2) for verification of the card holder’s identity for internet and phone-based purchases. Users will also get real time mobile alerts whenever they use their cards or when fraudulent transactions are detected.” Mr. Mir added.

UnionPay International (UPI) is a subsidiary of China UnionPay focused on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business. In partnership with more than 2000 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 174 countries and regions with issuance in 55 countries and regions. UnionPay International provides high quality, cost effective and secure cross-border payment services to the world’s largest cardholder base and ensures convenient local services to a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders and merchants.