Kenya Ranks First in The Use of Digital Payments Across Africa – VISA Survey

  • According to the report, 56% of Kenyan businesses prefer to use mobile wallets compared to Nigeria (14%) and South Africa (7%).
  • The adoption of mobile money payments in Kenya has been rising following the Central Bank’s push for the service in recent times.

A survey highlighting the impact of digital platforms has revealed that Kenyans prefer to use cashless payments to conduct business more than South Africans and Nigerians.

The survey, which global digital payments solution provider Visa published, showed that an estimated (71%) of businesses in Kenya use cash as a means of payment, compared to higher use of cash by businesses in South Africa (91%) and Nigeria (94%).

According to the study, the less use of cash among Kenyan businesses is reflected in the high preference for mobile wallets (56 per cent) compared to Nigeria (14 per cent) and South Africa (7 per cent).

The study also highlighted that high usage of digital payments in Kenya was concentrated in food, entertainment, tours and accommodation, agriculture, transport and delivery, and professional services sectors of the economy.

“Cash is the highest used option across all markets though relatively lower in Kenya. Mobile wallet payments are highest in usage as well as preference in Kenya. Usage of a personal account for business payment is also prevalent in Kenya. Bank transfer is widely used in Nigeria,” the survey stated.

It added that 69 per cent of Kenyan businesses said digital payments (mobile money transfer, card payment, contactless cards, and bank transfer) have positively impacted their business, as they can easily track expenses and revenues, enabling fast transactions and cutting on errors in change.

The adoption of mobile money payments in Kenya has been rising following the Central Bank’s push for the service in recent times. Last year, during the pandemic, the Kenyan government released a directive through the central bank, instructing commercial banks and payment service providers to stop charges on all transfers from mobile money wallets and bank accounts.

According to Visa, the impact of introducing digital payments for businesses is positive, but the study shows room for improvement in adoption. The survey concluded that 83 per cent of respondents that adopted digital payments experienced an improvement in revenue. At the same time, 55 per cent of business owners plan to increase investment in new technologies.

Meanwhile, a new report has revealed that fraud attempts in Africa have increased by 50% in the last two years. The report published by popular KYC service, Smile Identity found that the first half of 2022 alone saw a 30% increase over 2021.

According to the report, there had been an increase in fraud attempts in countries like Kenya, while a reduction was observed in Ghana and South Africa.

“In 2020, 17% of all Smile Identity KYC checks were flagged as attempted fraud, and in the first half of 2022, this number increased to 26%. For the foreseeable future, as businesses adapt to the new virtual reality, we expect to see more and new types of fraud emerge increasingly,” the report stated.

As for the sectors experiencing fraud, the report found that Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platforms have become the leading target, while crypto was the least affected despite the sector’s attention.


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