Paynet extends CHIP adoption in Kenya

Bernard Matthewman, Group CEO Paynet and James Wainaina, VP for MasterCard

Leading East African electronic payments company Paynet has Tuesday announced the completion of a batch of some of EMV projects it is undertaking with various banks.

The development sees over 1 Million units of magnetic stripe cards held by customers of the three banks being replaced with the higher security EMV payment cards- carrying either VISA or MasterCard chip technology –  a significant stride in the adoption of EMV/CHIP technology in Kenya which pushes up the level of compliance with the new standard.

“Paynet is delighted to announce that three Kenyan banks are live on our EMV Chip platform and are already issuing their customers with new generation cards. We expect more issuers to go live from our EMV/CHIP facility as other projects we are undertaking near completion,” said Group CEO Bernard Matthewman.

Adoption by the payment industry of the EMV/ chip card technology, which uses a micro chip, is expected to spur more innovations in the local payments scene as increased security grows card users’ confidence in particularly card not present (CNP) transactions and accelerate online shopping.

Paynet said the go live of the three major banks on the new card technology was a landmark development and would grow by 10% the number of CHIP cards issued so far in the market. By February 2014, data from the Central Bank of Kenya showed there were 11.5 Million cards issued in the country. Kenya Bankers Association estimate that slightly more than 50% of these cards have been replaced with EMV/CHIP cards to date.

“The level of success we have achieved as an industry in the migration to CHIP technology is so far unprecedented. The fight against fraud at a high gear globally but we commend Kenya for moving at a faster rate than other countries, including the USA, in adopting safer payment technologies. As more cardholders in the country collect their CHIP cards from their issuing banks we anticipate a decline in the levels of card fraud,” said Mr. Matthewman.

Paynet has been working with partners to provide banks in the region with a cost-effective alternative in the adoption of the new card technology.

Last year, the company launched an updated card platform at its card centre in Nairobi with a capacity to support over 100 banks in issuing and processing of EMV cards and which offers banks and other issuers a choice between going VISA or MasterCard Chip or issue their own proprietary CPA Chip cards.