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Firms turn to plastic money to cut costs

SCI & TECH
By By Fredrick Obura | August 6th 2012

By Fredrick Obura

Kenyan companies are slowly turning to plastic money—credit cards or debit cards to cut costs and reduce risks associated with hard currencies.

Rea Vipingo, an expansive Sisal Plantation in Dua and Kibwezi, Del Monte, Waridi, Orbit Chemicals, East Africa Growers, and Tiley are turning to the services to offset wages of their workers.

“Technology is changing perception of many companies; they are turning to plastic money instead of liquid cash to reduce risks of handling cash,” says Richard Coate, Managing Director PesaPoint.  “This is set to escalate with banks, telecommunication companies launching various e-payment products now being accepted by consumers,” he says.

Virtual account

PesaPoint has partnered with the firms to introduce a salary payment system called wagepoint. WagePoint is a card based bulk payment solution that is implemented by PesaPoint through Electronic Financial Technologies (EFT) Ltd, part of the Paynet Group.

It leverages on the company’s elaborate PesaPoint ATM infrastructure and Paynet Kenya’s payment switch.

Companies give their workers a card similar to a debit or credit card that carries a virtual account, through which their weekly wages are automatically credited.

“WagePoint works in a simple way; the company prepares the payments schedule for all workers and then inputs this into a system provided by PesaPoint,” Coate says.

“The system credits each of the respective cards; workers are issued with the cards and are able to withdraw money at various PesaPoint ATM.” Currently, Kenya’s electronic payment sector is dominated by mobile money transfer services such as M-Pesa, Airtel Money, YuCash and Orange Money.  According to the Central Bank of Kenya, mobile cash transactions accounted for Sh1.2 trillion in the year ending December 2011. During the same period, the value of card transactions was estimated at about Sh521 billion.


 

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