Rwanda’s cards and payments industry has experienced rapid growth according to a recent market research.
The report shows that the number of cards in circulation increased at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 148.9 percent, from 12,045 cards in 2008 to 460,914 in 2012.
This growth was primarily driven by banks’ aggressive marketing strategies and the central bank’s measures to increase the awareness of card-based payments among consumers.
The number of cards in circulation is expected to increase from 690,967 in 2013 to 1.4 million in 2017, after registering a forecast-period CAGR of 19.78 percent.
The report further says that despite card payments being at an emerging stage in Rwanda due the relatively low penetration of banking services, banks and card issuers are embracing new technologies to facilitate cashless payments.
Smart-card ticketing system ‘Twende’ was initiated by Kigali Bus Services (KBS), facilitating payment through prepaid cards issued by KBS. The technology has been implemented on KBS’ 20 buses in Kigali.
The implementation of new technologies is expected to drive growth in card payments in the country.
In Rwanda, payment infrastructure, including the Automatic Telling Machine (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) terminals network, is growing considerably. The number of ATM machines increased from 167 in 2011 to 232 in 2012, while the number of POS terminals increased from 227 to 385 during the same period.
Also mobile phone use grew during the review period, with 6.1 million people, equivalent to 54 percent of the population, using mobile phones in March 2013.
MTN Rwanda, a leading telecoms provider in the country, has recorded growth in mobile transactions (mobile money) since their creation in 2010, as the value of transactions reached $139.2 million in November 2012.
E-commerce is at a nascent stage in Rwanda due to the lack of an appropriate online payment infrastructure. However, national career RwandAir, has been facilitating online payment for their services since 2011.
In April this year, the Bank of Kigali introduced an e-payment gateway in association with iVeri Payment Technologies, one of the leading multi-channel e-payment service providers, to accelerate e-commerce transactions in the country.