Card use low in Rwanda

Though data from Simtel shows a commendable increase in card use, The New Times has learnt that less than 10 per cent of the country’s current account holders use cards for business transactions.

BY RICHARD MULIISA

Though data from Simtel shows a commendable increase in card use, The New Times has learnt that less than 10 per cent of the country’s current account holders use cards for business transactions.
Information from Rwanda Central Bank indicates that about 500,000 people have accounts in financial institutions in the country. But few use ATM, debit and credit card.
Business experts, reason that, the low use of cards is partly the reason business development in the country is slow.
But Simtel’s Director General, Roger Munyampenda said recently, his institution is working out a strategic plan together with a consultant to popularise card use in Rwanda.
He added that commercial banks and other institutions have already expressed willingness to increase the level of card use in the country.
“More banks are increasing their products which require the card,” he said, while mentioning Cash Plus a product which has just been developed by Rwanda Commercial Bank (BCR).
He added that even service and utility providers have also embraced technology which would increase card use in business transactions
Recent data from Simtel shows that mid last year, about 12,000 card users, were registered with transactions amounting to over Frw260 million.
In March 2007, the number of card users had doubled with more transactions registered.
Munyampenda believes despite hitches in connectivity, population attitude towards savings and card use is also one of the hindrances.
“There is a big relationship between the numbers of account holders and the use of cards in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to Rwanda Financial Sector Development Programme (FSDSP) report, SIMTEL is expected to “focus on developing its profile in providing processing systems and support to the financial sector and at all costs avoid being involved in the provision of what may be considered competitive services to those institutions’ clients.”

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