The introduction of prepaid credit cards in Kenya has enabled many Kenyans to be able to have credit cards and conduct online purchases. In order to be able to use services like Paypal, one needs to have a credit card. Paypal is the best way to receive payment and make purchases as they have a buyers protection policy. Using Paypal with your credit card is easy, one needs to link their credit card to their Paypal account, verify it, and after that they don’t need to provide their credit card details again when they are making a purchase using Paypal. The best part is that a variety of merchants accept Paypal as way of payment, making it easy and convenient to use.
I found it complicated to link my debit card with Paypal, as I kept getting the message “your card has been declined by your bank”, and it was not because of lack of funds in the card. Probably it was my bank account, but it doesn’t matter as Prepaid credit cards have come to the rescue. With introduction of mobile banking linking your card is fast easy, as when you link your card you need to provide a verification code. Normally this code would be sent to your credit card statement but with mobile banking, immediately you link your card, the code comes to your mobile phone as a text message and you can get verified immediately.
The giants in providing prepaid credit cards, are I&M bank and KCB bank. I will give my review based on the cards I have used. I&M bank has a variety of options when it comes to prepaid cards. If they are not the leading in prepaid card service, then I don’t know who is. They have the I&M Visa Pre-Paid Nakumatt credit card which the base currency is in US dollars, the I&M M-Pesa Pre-pay visa credit card, which is in Kenya Shillings, the Multicurrency Prepaid Card; just to name a few. With all the I&M bank cards one has access to I&M online banking services dubbed “I-click”. This enables the client be able to view their transactions, limit the amount available for use with the card and even block the card from any use.
With the I&M Visa Pre-Paid Nakumatt credit card one loads the card with dollars. I prefer using this card as one is not affected by the crazy high bank rates during, although I have found I&M bank to be one of the banks that give rates close to the bureau rates. I can conveniently change my Kenya shillings at a bureau of my choice and load the card in dollars. If one makes online purchases there is no additional fee. Only the purchase amount is deducted from the card, which makes having this card amazing.
The I&M M-Pesa Pre-pay is handy for converting your mpesa money to “plastic money”. One can easily top-up their card from their mpesa menu. I prefer to use the I&M Visa Pre-Paid Nakumatt credit card, but would turn to this card if my Nakumat card has insufficient funds, and I am away from the bank to load up. For those who love impulse buying this card can be a great save. You could be surfing the internet and you spot the item that’s you must purchase at that second, you can easily move funds from your bank account to your mpesa using mobile banking, then load up your I&M M-Pesa Pre-pay credit card and purchase your item, all in one sitting.
The Multicurrency Prepaid Card, is also another great product from I&M bank. I haven’t used this card but I had a chance to be informed about it by I&M bank. This card is mostly for people who deal with several currencies and travel a lot. The card is “partitioned”, and allows one to top the card with the major 3 currencies, that is US dollars, Sterling Pound and Euros. This card is more expensive than the other I&M cards, and since the US dollars is the major currency used out the The I&M Visa Pre-Paid Nakumatt credit card will serve you well.
The KCB Visa prepaid credit card , dubbed “General Purpose Card” is another prepaid card introduced by Kenya Commercial Bank. The card is in Kenya shillings. To top up this card one needs to go to the banking hall. With mobile banking one can be able to send funds from their KCB bank account to their card. Once this card has funds its quite reliable, but most of the times I get errors when I try to transfer funds from my account to the card using Mobile banking, and for every time you access the mobile banking menu you are charged, so it ends up being costly instead of helpful.
In comparison between I&M bank and KCB bank prepaid credit cards, with I&M bank prepaid credit cards one gets their prepaid credit cards at the spot, one has access to online banking, one has a variety of options whether is Kenya Shillings or US dollars and my user experience is that they are reliable. With the KCB General Purpose Card, there is a waiting period of about 2 weeks before acquiring the card, one cannot access their credit card transactions through online banking (I tried so hard to get the service but my efforts bore no fruits), and the card can sometimes give you problems if you are the kind who prefers to do their banking through their Smart phones. The KCB general purpose has the advantage that one can exhaust all the funds in their credit card, unlike the I&M M-Pesa Pre-pay credit card one must leave KES 250 in the card. The KCB card also doesn’t have reloading fees unlike the I&M Visa Pre-Paid Nakumatt credit card and the I&M M-Pesa Pre-pay credit card which have a loading fee of KES 200 and KES 125 respectively.
Each card has its advantage and disadvantage, it just depends on which advantage bests fits you. Now you can be able to have a credit card and carry out your online shopping with ease. You now know how to own a credit in Kenya