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Barclays’ Easygo card targets 16 million unbanked Ugandans

Barclays Uganda and Vivo energy have unveiled a Visa-backed pre-paid card that will help shoppers go about their purchases without having to carry cash.

Barclays CEO Rakesh Jha said last week that there were more than 16 million unbanked Ugandans aged above 18 years, which makes the card handy to bring them into the fold. Jha said owners of the card can load it at any bank branch, using mobile money or even cash.

Barclays CEO Rakesh Jha (C) with Shell officials launching the Easygo card

“The card has enabled e-commerce services,” Jha said, adding that owners can use it to pay utility bills such as electricity and water.

It can also be used to pay taxes, school fees, and insurance. One financial expert, however, said the card would only increase on the convenience of the already-banked populations since they are the ones at level of self-gratification, and likely to go to Shell to fuel their cars.

The users will have a four-digit Personal identification Number (PIN) to use as security when the card is swiped before allowing any transaction. Barclays says there will be no charges.

The card is different from the traditional credit and visa cards issued by financial institutions in that you have to load money on it before using it. Gilbert Assi, the Vivo energy managing director, said the card will mean less worries for everyone uncomfortable with carrying bundles of cash. Vivo energy operates Shell fuelling stations in Uganda.

For fuel services, the card can only be used at Shell petrol stations. Beatrice Nabanjja from Barclays said there are will be bonus points and rewards whenever the card is used.

The rewards can be used when the card owner has no money to load. SMS alerts would then be sent to the owner detailing what they bought, at how much, and the balance on their card.

One does not have to be a Barclays bank customer or own a car to get the card, said Rakesh. The card is still on promotion for free but will cost Shs 10,000 in future at any Shell fuelling stations.

amwesigwa@observer.ug

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