The Government’s efforts to promote a cashless economy and electronic digital payment systems have received further boost with the launch of a new campaign, “Fuel up with visa card,” to promote the use of digital cards in fuel purcahse at pump stations across the country.
The campaign, launched at Societe Petrolier (SP) in Rugunga, Nyarugenge District, yesterday, allows motorists with visa credit, debit and other prepaid cards to access fuel from Mt Meru, Engen, Source Oil, SP and Hash pump refill stations.
The initiative, according to Francois Kanimba, the minister for trade and industry, would help promote efficiency and a cashless economy.
It could also play a critical role in reducing the risk and cost of transaction, thus making the industry more profitable, the minister added.
“As part of the campaign, we will reward the first 1,800 motorists who embrace the initiative and will continue to work with all the stakeholders to ensure that the vision of driving digital payment systems is a reality,” Kanimba told The New Times.
The number of debit cards has increased by 22 per cent in recent past from 532,157 in June last year to 654,349 in June this year.
Equally, credit cards, according to central bank, increased by about 135 per cent, from 1,562 to around 3,675, during the same period.
Maurice Toroitich, the KCB Bank Rwanda managing director and chairperson of Rwanda Bankers Association, said increasing the number of card holders will help promote a proper functioning of money markets across the country.
“Embracing electronic payment systems does not only enhance efficiency but also creates more business opportunities through increased trade volumes and proper data collection and management systems,” said Toroitch.
However, he expressed concern over lack of a strong awareness campaign to promote digitisation of banking systems among consumers.
Lucy Mbabazi, the Visa Rwanda country manager, said such campaigns are a win-win undertaking for both the consumers and service providers requiring only incentive to keep the momentum.
Mbabazi said the initiative will see customers rewarded with up to five litres of free fuel for every Rwf20,000 worth of fuel consumed using visa card.
“We want to make paying for fuel and other commodities at fuel stations as convenient as possible,” she said.
Fuel dealers welcome the initiative
Claudien Habimana, the managing director of SP, said using visa cards and other credit cards will help reduce the risk of cash management on retail sites as well as make the industry more competitive.
“The ultimate profit from such a campaign is better fuel management systems that will reduce on the cost of transactions, thus growing the industry,” Habimana said.
The government is looking for partnerships with the private sector to increase revenue from oil and petroleum products.
The plan is to increase the capacity of the country’s fuel reserves while strengthening its involvement in petroleum and other related products re-export business, serving neighbouring countries, including Burundi and DR Congo.