Kenyans increase use of plastic cards amid the COVID-19 pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO - FEBRUARY 25: Visa credit cards are arranged on a desk February 25, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Visa Inc. is hoping that its initial public offering could raise up to $19 billion and becoming the largest IPO in U.S. history. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Visa credit cards. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The use of plastic cards in Kenya surged 63 percent between April and August as the east African nation citizens embraced cashless transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

The plastic card transactions hit 5.76 billion Kenyan shillings (about 53.2 million U.S. dollars) in August, up from 32.6 million dollars in March when the disease broke out in Kenya, the bank’s economic data released Thursday showed.

Of all the plastic cards in the East African nation, debit cards remained the most popular, accounting for over 90 percent of all transactions, followed by credit cards and charge cards.

The number of users rose to clock 11.5 million in August.

The trend in the usage of plastic money during the COVID-19 period in the East African nation mirrors the use of mobile money, which has risen to an all-time high of 4.4 billion dollars a month.

The central bank in March waived some bank and mobile money charges to facilitate the use of cashless transactions to curb the spread of COVID-19.