COVID-19 update included
The content of this report will be updated with the latest scenarios based on the global COVID-19 Pandemic


Kenya’s payment card market is still in the developmental stage, with card penetration of 31 cards per 100 individuals in 2018 and 15.1 transactions per card per year - lower than its peers South Africa, Morocco and Egypt. The low uptake of payment cards is due to the society’s dependence on cash and the limited acceptance of payment cards at merchant locations. Overall, cash accounted for 88.7% of the total payment transaction volume in 2018. The popularity and wider acceptance of mobile payment solutions such as M-Pesa and Pesapal has been a major obstacle for payment card growth, as these solutions offer convenience and cost effectiveness.

Unlike banks, mobile payment solution providers offer their services to small merchants and charge lower processing fees, making them attractive among consumers. The government has taken several initiatives to bring the unbanked population within the formal banking system, which in turn helps promote card usage. One of these initiatives is the adoption of an agency banking model to provide financial access to individuals in remote areas.

Mobile-based payment solutions are growing at a rapid pace in Kenya, mainly due to their convenience and cost efficiency. As of March 2018, M-Pesa had 28.6 million registered users in Kenya, as well as 162,800 agents and 109,000 supporting merchants. Mobile payment solution providers typically charge lower processing fees. Example being Safaricom, which charges merchants a 0.5% transaction processing fee on its Lipa Na M-Pesa service, which is much cheaper that the average merchant service charge on bank card payments.

The number of transactions made by banking agents increased from 104.2 million transactions in 2016 to 139.8 million in 2017 - an increase of 34.1%. Growth in Kenya’s banked population has led to a rise in overall debit card penetration in the country. To improve financial inclusion, all of Kenya’s major banks offer agency banking services. According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), as of December 2017 a total of 61,290 banking agents from 18 commercial banks and five microfinance banks were present in the country, increasing from 53,833 in December 2016.

Kenya’s e-commerce market recorded a review-period CAGR of 21.5% due to increased internet penetration and a growing middle class, as well as the presence of various mobile payment services. Individuals purchasing goods online reached 2.6 million in 2017 - rising from 1.2 million in 2014 in Kenya - positioning it just behind South Africa and Nigeria in the African region.

The report "Payments Landscape in Kenya: Opportunities and Risks to 2022", provides top-level market analysis, information and insights into Kenya’s cards and payments industry, including -

  • Current and forecast values for each market in the Kenya’s cards and payments industry, including debit and credit cards
  • Detailed insights into payment instruments including cash, cards, and cheques. It also, includes an overview of the country’s key alternative payment instruments
  • E-commerce market analysis
  • Analysis of various market drivers and regulations governing the Kenya’s cards and payments industry
  • Detailed analysis of strategies adopted by banks and other institutions to market debit and credit cards

Companies Mentioned: Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank, KCB, National Bank of Kenya, Diamond Trust Bank, Barclays, Standard Bank, Visa, and Mastercard


  • To introduce an instant payment system and foster the use of electronic payments in the country, Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) launched PesaLink in February 2017, a real-time interbank money transfer system. This service enables individuals to transfer a minimum of KES10 ($0.10) and a maximum of KES999,999 ($9,814.97) instantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. No charges are applicable for transactions up to KES500 ($4.91), after which a charge between KES10-KES12 ($0.10-0.12) is levied on every transaction. Transfers can be initiated via multiple channels, including mobile banking, internet banking, branch front offices and ATMs. The service is currently offered by all of the country’s major banks. Until October 2018, transactions worth KES87bn ($853.90m) were executed on PesaLink.
  • To curb cash transactions and money laundering, the CBK issued stringent cash regulations in June 2018. The regulation mandated that all Kenyan individuals must provide a prior three day notice if they deposit or withdraw more than KES10m ($98,149.77) from a bank account. All transactions between KES1m ($9,814.98) and KES10m have to be approved by branch manager, while all transactions between KES10m and KES20m ($196,299.53) require regional branch manager approvals. In addition, individuals must also reveal the details of the transaction, including the source of the funds, recipient/payee credentials and the purpose of the transaction; they also have to state the reason for not using another electronic transfer option. This move is aimed at enhancing the traceability of bank transactions while boosting electronic payments in the country.
  • In compliance with CBK guidelines, banks in Kenya have reduced interest rates on loans. For instance, Equity Bank has lowered the interest rate charged on loans to a maximum of 13% annually, with effect from August 1, 2018 - a similar move to that taken by CBK a few days before. The new interest rates are applicable to new and existing loans, as well as credit cards. Such initiatives are likely to spur demand for consumer credit, thereby driving credit card market growth.

Reasons To Buy

  • Make strategic business decisions, using top-level historic and forecast market data, related to the Kenya’s cards and payments industry and each market within it.
  • Understand the key market trends and growth opportunities in the Kenya’s cards and payments industry.
  • Assess the competitive dynamics in the Kenya’s cards and payments industry.
  • Gain insights into marketing strategies used for various card types in Kenya.
  • Gain insights into key regulations governing the Kenya’s cards and payments industry.