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Huduma Namba Will Soon be a Requirement for Mpesa, Other Digital Transactions

Mass distribution of Huduma Namba cards in Nairobi [Photo/Courtesy]
Mass distribution of Huduma Namba cards in Nairobi [Photo/Courtesy]

Kenyans will be required to use their huduma namba cards for subsequent digital transactions. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said it was counting on the rollout of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) to boost the adoption, security and stability of digital payments.

Last week, Kenya’s apex bank announced the early stages of the development of the Central Bank Digital Currency in line with the proliferation of e-commerce activities in the country. The digital shilling, which will be adopted as the official digital currency, could easily dethrone other existing non-cash payment channels.

Mobile money was first introduced into the country in 2007, allowing users to send and receive cash to each other using M-pesa. Since the introduction of merchant payments in 2013, the mobile money industry has grown tremendously.

Read: Mass Distribution Of Huduma Namba Cards Begins In Nairobi [Photos]

Data from the CBK shows that Kenyans use various non-cash channels such as mobile money, cards, electronic bank transfers, and cheques to make approximately 37.6 million transactions worth over Ksh176 billion every day.

“While Kenya’s leadership on mobile money is widely acknowledged, much more remains to be done. The Strategy seeks to consolidate the gains made so far and marking out the path towards a new chapter in Kenya’s payment journey,” said CBK.

While recent advances in various payment channels are welcome, CBK points out that the same has not been reflected in the cost of various payment services.

As a result, CBK may be eyeing a slice of the digital transaction costs, as well as cutting the cost of sending and receiving money electronically.

Read: Gov’t Announces Second Phase Of Huduma Namba Registration In May

The Huduma Namba card merges an individual’s data in a single electronic chip. Information captured includes details from the National Identity card, National Hospital Insurance Fund, National Social Security Fund among others.

According to the government, the purpose of the NIIMS initiative is to create and manage a central master population database that will be the `single source of truth’ on a person’s identity.

The treasury has set aside Sh1 billion for the second phase of the mass registration of the Huduma namba cards. This is to enable registration for people who failed to enrol in the first exercise that attracted about 9.3 million people.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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