Early in the year, Nigerian company InterSwitch took over Paynet Group the pioneers of PesaPoint network of ATMs. Following the deal, one of InterSwitch’s subsidiaries Verve International has launched its Prepaid Card in the market. Verve which launched in 2009 plans to use Kenya as a gateway to the East Africa markets targeting Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Rwanda and ramp up its existing operations in Uganda. The launch of the card also included an announcement of a partnership with KCB Bank for to expand payment and acceptance of the cards.
Speaking to Techweez, Verve International Country Manager Richard Coates said cash i still King in Kenya with 95-97% of the market and the plan for Verve is to initially scoop up 2-3% of this market. “We are promoting ease of payments by facilitating payments with the Verve card. Our market plan is to grab the 20-35 year old demographic who are early adopters by offering a products that resonate with them”, he added. The Verve card is a debit card linked to a users bank account that allows them to make payments on POS terminals, the internet, make cash withdrawals besides offering value added services such as airtime top ups and payment of bills. The card also allows the user to accumulate royalty points for usage, which are redeemable for various items.
With Kenyans increasing using mobile money services for payment of goods and services and banks increasingly taking their services on the mobile platform, it will be interesting to see how Verve hacks the Kenyan market. Verve is however banking on the already established relationship between PesaPoint and mobile money services to interface its card services with mobile money services. With regards to online payments, which have spiked in recent times owing to the growth of E-commerce, Verve hopes has a partnership with Discovery Financial Services that allows the users to purchase goods on Discovery branded sites. It is further planning to partner with local E-commerce sites in this area.