2020 Saw a 4% Decline in Card Payments Value in Kenya Due to Mobile Money

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card payments

Card payments is one of the many ways to which people pay for goods and services in Kenya. The Central Bank noticed a drop in the use of card payments in Kenya in the year 2020.

CBK data shows that value of payments via POS machines dropped by 3.8% in 2020 to 157.72 billion, down from 164.09 billion in 2019 as reported by Business Daily.

Interesting enough, the number of transactions went up by 4.5% to 34.71 million. This is up by 1.49 million compared to last year.


The reason for the decline in card payments absolute value in 2020 is attributed to the poor network of POS terminals and mobile payments being a substitute for card payments.


“This said, usage of cards in Kenya is still relatively low. This may be due to the poor network of POS terminals nationally, resulting from the high cost of POS terminals and cost of acceptance for the merchant, negative perception of consumers due to incidents of fraud and poor stability of card payment systems. It may also be the case that mobile money transactions – particularly as a means of making payment to a merchant – have become a substitute for card payments,” the Central Bank commented on their Kenya National Payments System Vision and Strategy 2021-2025 document.

The Central Bank waived mobile money payments below Kshs 1000 which was implemented to encourage more people to use virtual money in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The measures also included widening the mobile money wallet by 100% to Kshs 300,000 and waiving bank to MPESA money transfers. However, the CBK ended the waiver on charges below Kshs 1000 on 31st December 2020.


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