SBM Bank,UnionPay rollout prepaid cards in Kenya

The cards will trade in Shilling with plans to add Yuan and Dollar wallets

In Summary

• UnionPay prepaid card holders can make both online and real-time purchases.

• The pre-paid card offers additional security for travelers and online buyers, shielding them from online fraud and the erosion of their savings.

Pin payment card
Pin payment card

SBM Bank has partnered with leading global payment network-UnionPay International to roll out its UnionPay Prepaid Card in the country.

The partnership enables cardholders of UnionPay prepaid card to leverage on its global footprint to make both online and real-time purchases.

UnionPay cards are accepted in 174 countries and regions with 55 million merchants and over 2.9 million ATMs, making it ideal for travelers and tourists.


According to SBM Group Chairman Kee Chong Li, the UnionPay card is ideal for SMEs looking to trade with China, which is one of the leading markets for African produce and also acts as a key source market for various goods.

Chong Li yesterday said the pre-paid card offers additional security for travelers and online buyers, shielding them from online fraud and the erosion of their savings.

 With China increasingly becoming a leading trade partner for Kenya and wider African continent, this particular UnionPay prepaid card will eventually have a Yuan wallet enabling users to make direct purchases from China and shielding them from forex losses,” Chong Li said.

According to UnionPay International’s Africa general manager Luping Zhang, the prepaid card is part of the company's plans to expand its footprint across the continent, and enable safe and secure payments with Chinese businesses. UnionPay is already accepted in over 50 African markets.

We are looking to partner with banks such as SBM Bank to enable Kenyan businesses gain direct access to the Chinese market through our card-based payment systems,” Luping said.

The cards will be issued by SBM Bank as shilling denominated cards with plans to add a Yuan and Dollar wallet in the near future. Customers will be able to top up the card at SBM Bank branches, via SBM’s Mfukoni APP, Online Banking and Via MPesa.

Though the card has no cash limit, top ups are limited to Sh750,000 a day while users are allowed to set their own spending limits, especially when traveling and transacting online.


The partnership will also see SBM Bank issue UnionPay Debit cards to their customers, enabling them to utilize the cards at retail outlets without incurring any transaction charges.

According to SBM Bank Kenya CEO Moezz Mir, the card will come with enhanced features enabling ease of use by deploying technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC) to further enhance the user experience.

NFC enables the user to tap and pay as opposed to swiping or inserting cards to machines to make payments.

Deputy CEO Jotham Mutoka said:From a security perspective, we have deployed a robust continuous fraud monitoring system to detect suspicious activity on your SBM UnionPay Debit Card.”

UnionPay International (UPI) is a subsidiary of China UnionPay focused on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business.