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Electronic cards usage slows down to 13-month low in February

Use of cards to settle transactions plunged to a 13-month low in February, registering Sh53 billion.
Use of cards to settle transactions plunged to a 13-month low in February, registering Sh53 billion. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Use of cards to settle transactions plunged to a 13-month low in February, registering Sh53 billion.

This coincided with a government directive pushing for contactless payment options such as mobile money to curb spread of coronavirus disease.

Unsurprisingly, during the same period, mobile money transactions rose to Sh350.5 billion with 4,251 new mobile pay-points opened bringing the entire agent network to 235,543 outlets.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data reveals card transactions in February registered a 3.34 percent drop or Sh7.3 billion lower than January's Sh60.4 billion.

Interestingly, use of prepaid cards rose considerably by Sh7 billion to stand at Sh20.9 billion last February compared to January deals that were valued at Sh19.2 billion. But this is a 33.2 percent drop in usage compared to February 2019 at Sh31.3 billion.

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Credit card use in February fell 15.7 percent to stand at 6.26 billion compared to January's Sh7.43 billion. It stood lower than February 2019 when deals settled amounted to Sh6.79 billion. According to CBK this is a six-year low, revealing a steady decline in use of credit cards for commercial transactions in favour of other modes of payments.

For debit cards, February experienced a lull with Sh52.2 billion registered as activities continued to cool down compared to the busier January that realised Sh59.5 billion as parents returned children to schools with spending on fees, purchase of school-related items as well as transport costs.

Bills settled through point of sale (POS) terminals also dropped to Sh14.9 billion in February compared to Sh15.1 billion previous month.

In February POS deals were 26 percent higher than a year earlier when a paltry Sh11.9 billion worth of deals were made.

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