Visa and I&M Bank announce prepaid card solution

Visa, in partnership with Kenyan financial institution I&M Bank, has launched a prepaid product that will allow M-Pesa account holders to transact at point of sale (POS) and ATM outlets for the first time.

This prepaid product showcases Visa’s continued commitment to payment system innovations to extend the convenience and security of digital currency to unbanked populations in emerging markets.

I&M Bank have spent the past four months building an intermediary system that allows customer’s the freedom to transfer funds between their Visa prepaid and M-Pesa accounts.

The new product offers online purchase capability, POS purchases and means easier cash disbursement through ATM’s, giving account holders access to a far greater acceptance footprint over and above M-Pesa cash out kiosks.

“Visa’s mobile strategy for emerging markets is to bring the security, global interoperability and scalability of a global payment network to closed loop payment systems, such as M-Pesa,” said Charles Niehaus, general manager, Visa sub-Saharan Africa. “By integrating with the existing infrastructure developed for traditional financial services, M-Pesa has the opportunity to bring added functionality to its customers, and offer an additional, secure channel through which M-Pesa account holders can access their funds.”

The far reaching extent of Visa’s processing platform, product range and the brand’s global reach puts Visa in a unique position to accelerate the growth of mobile payments and financial services around the world and realise Visa’s vision to bank the unbanked. Mobile payment technology introduces an opportunity to overcome historical challenges to deliver financial services to more than 1 billion consumers worldwide who own mobile devices but do not have a formal banking relationship.

“Mobile solutions are shifting the way consumers transact in African markets like Kenya. Through this partnership with Visa and SafariCom, I&M Bank aims to offer the unbanked access to a broader range of financial services and thus changing the cash focused transaction mentality,” added Arun Mathur, CEO of I & M Bank.