South African fintech startup, Ukheshe, has entered into a partnership with KCB Bank Kenya to enable the startup to issue both virtual and physical cards across East Africa. As part of the agreement, KCB will sponsor Ukhesheโ€™s Bank Identification Number (BIN) number which is a critical part of processing payments.

Beyond just virtual and physical cards, the partnership between Ukheshe and KCB will also include other digital products such as QR code issuing and acquiring.

โ€œBy joining forces with KCB we are well-placed to address several open loop market opportunities while boosting wider consumer adoption. Payment options across various segments will benefit such as payroll, companion cards, multi-currency prepaid cards, travel cards and gift cards, together with social security and other government benefit programs such as insurance claims," said Victor Ndlovu, Vice President of Ukheshe Africa.

๐Ÿ“ท One of the solutions Ukheshe offers is a QR code-based payment system. They have already deployed it in South Africa. Source: Ukheshe

Financial inclusion

The East African region has been abuzz for over a decade with various companies talking about financial inclusion. Essentially and at its core, financial inclusion is about offering financial services to unbanked and underserved people.

Ukheshe is no different. The fintech believes it can contribute to East Africa's demand for viable alternatives to cash.

โ€œEmbracing a digital-first approach is not only a win for African consumers but for fintech, banks, payment processors, as well as issuers and merchants. Our agreement with KCB will escalate our impact in transforming the payment space while collaborating with key industry players to stimulate the uptake of digital payments,โ€ said Ndlovu.

Partnerships across Africa

In recent months, Ukheshe has ramped up efforts to establish and enhance key partnerships in Africa as the continent shifts towards digital channels, products, and services across all categories.

โ€œWe are keen on continually expanding our digital offering and card business to serve customers and deepening financial inclusion. KCB has been at the forefront of digitising transactions to offer customers seamless services,โ€ said Annastacia Kimtai, KCB Director Retail Banking.

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