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Contactless payments surge 40pc

A Mastercard survey shows fear of contracting Covid-19 from ‘infected’ currency notes has fuelled contactless transactions with 80 percent of payments below Sh2,500.
A Mastercard survey shows fear of contracting Covid-19 from ‘infected’ currency notes has fuelled contactless transactions with 80 percent of payments below Sh2,500. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Mastercard survey shows fear of contracting Covid-19 from ‘infected’ currency notes has fuelled contactless transactions with 80 percent of payments below Sh2,500.

The first quarter study that covered Kenya and other 18 Middle East and African countries found the transactions (where human contact is limited) had grown by 40 percent revealing a major shift on small payments that are usually dominated by cash payment.

“Social distancing does not just concern people, it includes publicly shared devices like point of sale terminals and checkout counters. At a time of heightened sensitivity to personal contact, consumers are adopting contactless as part of their new ‘no-contact’ behaviour,” said Mastercard East Africa Business head Adam Jones.

The growth, he added, follows increase of contactless payment limits to Sh3,500 from Sh2,500 and last month’s enhancement of the card verification method (CVM).

The survey found six in 10 respondents preferred contactless means of settling payments while up to 80 percent said contactless payments methods were much cleaner, hence safer.

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“We are in a sustained period where consumers are more concerned of their health and are making purchases via contactless methods. Nearly two in three respondents (64 percent) confirmed that the pandemic has led them to use less cash and 81 percent said they will continue to use contactless post-pandemic,” it added.

DTB Kenya head of Products and Marketing Farouk Khimji said their debit and credit cards were Mastercard enabled for tap-and-go transactions.

“Equity Group customers have the right and convenient payment options to suit their lifestyle as they continue to navigate during the current challenges brought about by Covid-19. All our 21,000 Point of Sale machines at merchant locations in Kenya accept contactless payments,” said Equity Bank Kenya managing director Gerald Warui.

The survey credited deployment of contactless pay portals at retail and drugstore outlets for the new contactless payments growth with significant spikes noted in February and March.

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