Leading Regional East African retail chain Nakumatt Holdings Limited today launched the Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card, in partnership with Kenya Commercial Bank and Diamond Trust Bank.
The new card, which is EMV compliant, replaces the current Nakumatt Cybercash loyalty smartcard and provides a range of enhanced benefits and security features. With the multicurrency Nakumatt Global Prepaid Mastercard card, existing Nakumatt smartcard holders will continue accumulating their smart points for all purchases made across Nakumatt outlets.
Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard cardholders will also earn smart points for purchases made with the card at any of the over 35.9 million acceptance points, including 2.1 million ATMs, where MasterCard is accepted worldwide.
Speaking during an event to mark the launch of the new product, Nakumatt Holdings Managing Director Atul Shah confirmed that plans are now underway to revamp the firm's range of financial products and services.
Shah said the ongoing revamping project is part of a wider strategy to provide convenient retail financial solutions such as utility bill settlements, insurance products, cash back, FOREX trade and money transfer services at Nakumatt tills as customers pay for their shopping in the regular and 24-hour branches.
"At Nakumatt, we have managed to integrate a most advanced Payment Gateway switch linking us with other financial service providers to facilitate the robust delivery of a number of financial services and products," said Shah.
He added: "The transformation of the Nakumatt Smart Card to a Prepaid MasterCard card confirms our readiness to facilitate a general evolution of the local retail financial services, subject to regulatory approvals."
The launch of the new Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card will also effectively complement efforts to sustain a shift to cashless transactions.
The new card, powered by Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), also features MasterCard contactlesstechnology, 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.
"Coming so soon after the recent tragedy, this card is a true reflection of Nakumatt's and our other partners' resolve to triumph over adversity," said Daniel Monehin, Division President, Sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard. "The Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card is a great win for this market and a proof that MasterCard's vision of a world beyond cash is not only possible but is actually happening. Today, 85 per cent of the world's transactions are still carried out in cash and cheque. In Kenya, this figure stands at over 98 per cent, and we believe that the launch of this card will be a notable victory for the push for increased cashless transactions."
MasterCard is committed to working closely with various Kenyan stakeholders in the payments industry 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.
KCB said that partnerships and engagements with likeminded institutions and organizations like Nakumatt and MasterCard enables the Bank to create opportunities for mutual development and growth and avail avenues for people to prosper in line with its pan African vision of being the preferred financial solutions provider in Africa with a global reach .
"KCB is a regional Bank and therefore our customers across East Africa will enjoy more convenience and choice. The Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard is one such product and we are proud to have partnered in the process of bringing it to pass. This trend to embrace cashless transactions and interactions is a welcome platform that will accelerate innovation, enhance efficiency and create an excellent customer service experience across our regional network," said the Group CEO, Mr. Joshua Oigara.
Nasim Devji, Group CEO and Managing Director of Diamond Trust Bank commented: "Promoting economic development in working towards Kenya's Vision 2030 is an extremely important driving force for DTB. The way to achieve this vision is to provide the population with a functional product or service that provides an incentive for cashless payments, delivers on convenience and provides savings. This is what the Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card is about: providing an exceptional value proposition through loyalty points, tap and go technology, savings on foreign currency, and more. All these whilst providing consumers peace of mind by embracing security features such as EMV chip which is fast becoming a global standard"
Since Nakumatt launched its Smart cards ten years ago, the number of customers with cards has grown to over one million, a number that is expected to grow significantly with the launch of the new cards as more people seek financial solutions that allow them to carry out their day-to-day transactions while offering them value and rewards for loyalty.
Said Mr. Shah: "Rewarding our customers for their loyalty is something that Nakumatt has been doing for the last decade, and what we are doing with this new card is increasing the scale of rewards for our consumers. We want them to be able to, for instance, buy text books at the bookshop and be able to redeem these points for toys or essential goods at Nakumatt."
The Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard card also has multicurrency capability which allows consumers to upload the prepaid card with any of eight currencies, namely: Kenya Shilling (KES), U.S. Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), British Pound (GBP), Indian Rupee (INR), South African Rand (ZAR) and the Australian Dollar (AUD). As a result, cardholders can load money for purchases at POS terminals, make cash withdrawals and online purchases as well as save on the costs incurred in multi-currency transactions.
Effective immediately, Nakumatt plans to replace its old generation Smart Cards with the Nakumatt Global MasterCard prepaid card. The cards will be available from all Nakumatt outlets and also from selective branches of the partnering banks, beginning with Kenya before rolling out to Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda where Nakumatt operates.