KENYA – Listed regional lender I&M Bank was confirmed the sole regional representative for China’s online pay platform provider, Union Pay International (UPI), following a year-long trial period, reports Business Daily.
The two firms inked the deal after a successful pilot that saw the listed lender handle all local and cross-border transactions for UPI cardholders on behalf of local banks.
“The partnership aligns with the bank’s business model premised on innovation, where we seek to deliver market driven solutions that meet our customers’ requirements,” said I&M Bank chief executive Kihara Maina.
The deal enables Kenyan export traders to receive payments and pay for imported goods cashlessly on the UPI platform.
It is an additional revenue stream for I&M Bank as it will earn a commission for facilitating online transactions on behalf of Equity, KCB and SBM’s customers who are UPI cardholders.
UPI’s general branch manager Africa Zhang Luping said they had grown cardholders in Africa to 200 million in the last nine months.
UnionPay, also known as China UnionPay or by its abbreviation, CUP or UPI internationally, is a Chinese financial services corporation headquartered in Shanghai, China.
It provides bank card services and a major card scheme in mainland China.
It is the largest card payment organisation (debit and credit cards combined) in the world offering mobile and online payments based on total value of payment transactions, ahead of Visa and Mastercard.
I&M Bank Limited, is a commercial bank in Kenya, the largest economy in the East African Community. It is licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, the central bank and national banking regulator.
The bank traces its history to 1974 when Investments & Mortgages Limited was formed as a private company providing personalised financial services to businesspeople in the Nairobi area.
In 1980, I&M, as the company was known at that time, was registered as a Financial Institution under the Banking Act.
Following changes in the regulations of the Central Bank of Kenya, the banking regulator in the country, I&M became a commercial bank in 1996.