Kenya gets it. Over the past decade, in pursuit of financial inclusion for its population, it has embraced financial technology wholeheartedly. As a result, it is now one of Africa’s top-performing economies. Part of its winning formula is adoption of prepaid cards, according to experts at Axiom Prepaid Holdings.
Axiom is a global provider of end-to-end payment solutions that include Mastercard® and Visa® prepaid cards. In addition to consumer cards, it also offers a White Label Program, whereby businesses can generate revenue and improve brand marketing. The company entered African markets last year to help fill the gaps in products available to the unbanked and financially illiterate as well as companies seeking to provide digital payment opportunities to customers and employees.
“It is important to us to make our programs available where there is the greatest need for proven digital tools. Our engagements in Africa have been in direct proportion to the specific demand there for prepaid cards,” said Steven Foster, CEO, Axiom Prepaid Holdings.
So, why prepaid cards? Prepaid card use worldwide has grown year-over-year since 2006 and when combined with debit and credit cards, prepaid card spending on goods and services is expected to grow to $10+ trillion by 2023.
According to Axiom experts, as Africans become less reliant on cash, society, as a whole, benefits from products like prepaid cards. The cards can help entrepreneurs access funds to launch businesses and assist low-income individuals in providing for themselves and their families and giving them the ability to invest in things like higher education.
Axiom’s prepaid card programs are offered via mobile app or physical card – including single use options – and are accepted by millions of merchants in 220+ countries around the world and online. Typical card features include the ability to store and exchange multiple currencies; load funds by direct deposit, bank transfer or check deposit; contactless transactions; spend tracking and on-device statements; peer-to-peer transfers; rewards tracking; and even access to microloans and credit reporting. Fraud and privacy protection and backend security functions are assured.
“Kenya, in particular, has taken the lead in giving the unbanked or underbanked access to digital financial tools – and the amazing results show. Now South Africa, and other African countries, have taken a page from Kenya’s book, moving the continent giant leaps forward economically. Increased prepaid card use has been part of that success,” Foster added.