South Africa, Nigeria trail Kenya cashless payments

Thursday September 30 2021

Card payments are expected to grow in South Africa, across multiple segments, and among medium enterprises and urban areas in Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY


Kenyan businesses prefer cashless payments compared to those in South Africa and Nigeria, a new survey of women enterprises shows, highlighting the impact of digital platforms such as M-Pesa.

A report by global digital payments solution provider, Visa, shows that an estimated 71 percent of businesses in Kenya use cash payments, while the preference for this mode by their customers stood at 22 percent.

The survey shows higher use of cash by businesses in South Africa(91 percent) and Nigeria(94 percent).

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

The use of mobile money payments has been rising following the Central Bank of Kenya push for the service last year, which now competes ahead of card payments.

The report shows high usage of digital payments including mobile money transfer, card payment, contactless cards, and bank transfer was concentrated in food, beverage, and entertainment places, tours and accommodation, agriculture, transport and delivery, and professional services.


“Cash is 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,” Visa said in the report.

The report adds that 69 percent of businesses said digital payments have had a positive impact on their business, and use of cash only could see them miss opportunities.

They see the payment increasing customer spending, making it easy to track expenses and revenues, enabling fast transactions and cutting on errors in change.

As a result, 55 percent plan to increase investment in new technologies.

“The impact of introducing digital payments for businesses is positive, but the study shows room for improvement in adoption. Eighty three percent of respondents adopted digital payments experienced improvement in revenue,” it added.

“Card payments are expected to grow in South Africa, across multiple segments, and among medium enterprises and urban areas in Kenya. Although the use of mobile and digital payments may decrease after the pandemic, they are predicted to remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels.”