I&M Bank secures online payment portal to 'remove obstacles to e-commerce'

Jan 21, 2010

Consumers in East Africa should soon find it much easier to buy goods online, after Kenya's I&M Bank secured a deal on Wednesday January 20th for an internet-based payment portal that will be established in partnership with Visa.

According to Business Daily Africa, the system will enable shoppers to use debit and credit cards to pay for items using local currency.

Until now, they had to use time-consuming offshore financial tools - which raise the cost needed for online transactions - to do so, meaning that many people instead opted for more effective mobile money systems.

However, I&M will be the first bank in East Africa to offer an improved e-commerce option, which should in turn help regional businesses interact with global providers in various sectors at a lower price.

Helping e-commerce to grow, the publication said, has been difficult so far, due to the reluctance of local financial providers - making I&M's announcement a welcome step in the right direction.