Absa Bank Uganda recently unveiled the contactless tap functionality on its vertical Visa debit cards and POS machines. Following the launch of the Absa brand in Uganda in November 2019, the bank introduced the new Absa Vertical Cards with new and enhanced features. One of the key features on the vertical card is the contactless functionality.
This gives customers the ability to pay by simply ‘tapping’ the card on a contactless enabled point of sale (POS) terminal once the card has been enabled.
The contactless “Tap” solution comes at a time when there is an increased need for the adoption of cashless payment options in the face of growing safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be spread through touching infected objects and surfaces.
The innovation, a first in Uganda, follows a growing trend that has seen an increase in the use of cashless options on the African continent. A recent Mastercard survey in the Middle East and Africa shows that more than 70 per cent of respondents were by March 2020 using some form of contactless payment.
This is in line with a simultaneous surge in the use of internet and mobile payment options on the continent with banks and various merchants preferring the use of cashless alternatives as the world steadily but surely adapts to the disruption.
Absa Bank Uganda has recorded a 40% increase in digital transactions between the start of the year to June 2020. Absa’s contactless feature marks a further fundamental shift in the cashless ecosystem of Uganda with the added advantage of much quicker transaction times.
Speaking during the launch of the functionality, Annette Kiconco, Absa Bank Uganda’s Ag. Retail Banking Director, said: “The contactless function uses a Near Field Communication technology to allow payments from a contactless enabled card on a contactless supported payment terminal. With convenience and safety being one of the key trends in modern consumer culture and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Absa’s contactless feature has responded to both these consumer needs with a single functionality.”
“Our customers can now transact with ease and spend less time at payment tills. Additionally, the cards have also been rendered more secure by reducing the opportunities for fraud from point of sale entities.This enhanced security feature gives our customers peace of mind as they go about their daily transactions,” Absa’s Kiconco added.
“Being the first bank in Uganda to roll out this function, we are steadily building a reputation for innovation in the digital financial services sector, making Absa the banking partner of choice in the industry,” Kiconco concluded.
A study by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney showed that contactless payments accounted for more than 20% of the card-based point-of-sale retail transactions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Korea and that by taking a look at the world’s top 15 economies by GDP, contactless card payments accounted for more than 10% of all point-of-sale transactions.