20 Jan East African eCommerce Payments: Credit and Debit Card Internet Acquiring - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania

eCommerce in Kenya is growing but can be very challenging.  The mainstream banks licensed to do eCommerce have up to 500 internet merchants each.  The big local merchants are the hotels in the territory and airlines in the region which includes Rwanda and Tanzania who are developing steadily as part of the East African monetary area.

Kenyan banks are traditionally risk averse and International merchants looking to sell to Kenyans are often referred to Mauritian banks like BankOne for credit card acquiring.  There are a limited number of credit cards in Kenya so this is not the most effective solution.

The eCommerce market is growing steadily and unlike South Africa which had its biggest eCommerce Christmas ever, Kenya is struggling with logistics and having accurate addresses to deliver to.  

 Issuing is a bit behind on 3D Secure but acquiring is getting sorted rapidly.  The mainstream banks have the ability to implement 3D Secure on acquiring and most of them are insisting on it to enjoy the liability shift.  

 Tanzania and Rwanda cards can largely be serviced through Kenyan banks who will acquire scheme cards in the region.  Prepaid debit and credit cards, as long as they are Visa and Mastercard, are accepted by mainstream local banks.  Not all debit cards are enabled for online acquiring.

 Word on the ground is that Equity, Stanbic, I&M bank, CBA, DTB allow online acquiring of their debit and credit cards in issue and that currently Barclays, KCB, Equity are not yet 3D-enabled for issuing.  NIC have 3D secure on acquiring but not on issuing.

The 3D Secure is done mostly by Bankserv in South Africa which has been found to be cost effective and efficient for the local banks.  

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Contact African Payment Solutions if you are a multinational expanding to East Africa and looking for for eCommerce and online payments in the region.