Prepaid Debit Cards for Shopping in Kenya

Written by Wellington Ayugi

Over the last decade, the use of debit and credit cards has increased substantially in Kenya. More people are adapting to card-based systems to make payments. However, as promising as this development is, Kenyans are yet to fully embrace the use of plastic cards for online shopping. This issue has been made simpler with the introduction of prepaid debit cards.

Common questions raised are, what are they? How are they different from other cards? A majority of Kenyans use credit, debit, and prepaid cards interchangeably to buy products.  Each type of card has a unique purpose and works differently from the others.

What are Prepaid Cards?

Prepaid Cards: A pre-paid card is a card that is loaded with funds prior to its usage. It works like a usual chip and pin card except that it is not tied up with your bank account.

Difference Between a Debit Card and Prepaid Debit Card

The circulation of prepaid debit cards in the country has enabled many people to buy products online. Payment platforms such as PayPal, or purchasing goods online via Visa and MasterCard, require one to have a prepaid debit card or credit card.

The key advantage of a prepaid debit card over an ATM card (Debit Card) is you do not require a bank account with any bank, to possess one. All that is required is for you to load up the card with funds and begin transacting. An ATM Card is linked to your savings or current account and transactions can only occur if funds are present.

Types of Prepaid Debit Card in Kenya

The most highly rated prepaid debit cards in the country are:

  1. Safaricom MPESA I&M Prepaid Debit Card

Once a customer gets this card he has access to I&M online platform called “I-click”. This way he is able to limit the amount he can transact in the card, view his transaction history and block the card from usage. The user can load the card from his MPESA menu instantly and purchase anything with no additional fees. The card, however, has a top up fee of Ksh. 140.

  1. KCB General Purpose Prepaid Debit Card

The card was introduced by Kenya Commercial bank and can be loaded via KCBs mobile banking platform, or physically at a branch. The card has no loading fees and you can they are no requirements for a minimum balance in the card. There is also a 2 week waiting period when you register for the card.

  1. Nakumatt Global Prepaid MasterCard

You can upgrade your Nakumatt Smart Card or register for the prepaid card, which is guaranteed instantly. To top up you can visit a DTB or KCB branch, any Nakumatt Supermarket or through your mobile device. Apart from online purchases and cash withdrawals, the card also doubles up as a loyalty card.

Prepaid Cards are guaranteed to make your shopping experience easier. Each card is designed to fit the needs of a specific customer; therefore you have to decide which one best suits you.

What is your experience with pre-paid debit cards? Do you think they make your shopping experience better? Please comment below and let us know what you think.

Learn More:

  1. How to shop online from Kenya
  2. How to own a credit card in Kenya

About the author

Wellington Ayugi

Wellington Ayugi handles Business Development at Covered and has a passion for personal finance, microfinance, and developments in financial technology