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Absa Uganda introduces contactless functionality on Visa debit cards.

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Absa Uganda has unveiled the contactless tap functionality on the bank’s 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, which 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 Coronavirus pandemic, which can be spread through touching infected objects and surfaces.

“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,” said Annette Kiconco, the bank’s acting Retail Banking Director on Friday.

According to the bank officials, 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 percent 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.

Since the beginning of the year, Absa Bank Uganda has recorded a 40% increase in digital transactions.

“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,”Kiconco said.

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.

“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 boasted.

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