The country’s push for banks and Rwandans to embrace digital financial tools is paying off as more lenders continue to roll out e-commerce payment facilities. The trend also supports government’s goal of achieving a cashless economy and ease access to services, according to Hannington Namara, the Equity Bank Rwanda managing director.
Namara, who was speaking at the launch of the bank’s Visa Classic and Visa Gold credit cards on Tuesday, said Rwandans have become more enlightened about their spending needs, calling for tools that give them the freedom to “manage their finances in a more convenient and secure manner”.
Namara said credit cards enhance convenience for customers, enabling them to pay for goods and services in a flexible manner.
“The cards come with a revolving credit line and customers are able to repay the advances through a flexible payment plan of 20 per cent or 50 per cent or 100 per cent. The cards are also a good instrument for building one’s credit history,” Namara said.
The cards come with 45 days interest-free period.
Experts say e-payments solutions are essential to bring on board the unbanked population into the main stream financial sector and boost access to services and inclusion.
According to the 2016 FinScope survey on financial inclusion, more than 89 per cent of adult Rwandan population access financial services. However, about 11 per cent of Rwandans are still financially excluded.
“Therefore, efforts to digitise the country’s financial systems could help bring onboard the unbanked masses,” said Damascene Niwenshuti, a researcher and economist in Kigali.
Lately, banks are embracing e-payment solutions and agency banking to deepen their reach, reduce operational costs and improve service delivery besides creating convenience for customers. The move is also driven by the need to woo more customers.
The number of points of sale (POS) devices increased by 27 per cent from 1,339 to 1,707 between June 2015 and June last year, driven by growing demand from merchants like hotels and supermarkets, according to central bank. Payments and transactions at POS rose by 84 per cent from 146,038 to 269,241 in terms of volumes and were up 39 per cent to Rwf39 billion from Rwf12 billion in value terms.
The central bank has been encouraging bankers to develop solutions that make it easy for customers to transact.