Kenyans will soon be required to use their Huduma Namba cards for subsequent digital transactions. This is according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) which states 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, CBK 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 will be adopted as the first official digital currency.
Mobile money was first introduced in Kenya back 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 significantly.
“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 mark 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. CBK may be eyeing a slice of the digital transaction costs, as well as cutting the cost of sending and receiving money electronically.
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.