Lagos-headquartered United Bank for Africa (UBA) has launched its prepaid Visa card, Africard, in Zambia with the aim of promoting online shopping and payments.
Africard does not require a bank account, and can be used even by the unbanked both in rural and urban areas in Africa.
The card is the first to be introduced in Zambia by a bank, and aims to increase the appetite for online shopping in Zambia and encourage people to use cards when shopping, as opposed to carrying huge sums of money.
Africard aims to uphold UBA’s commitment to “creating new models of banking with the objectives of responding to the needs of unbanked populace”, according to the lender.
Customers could use Africard as am alternative for cash disbursement of wages and salary payments, online shopping and money transfer, as well as a foreign exchange card.
Other banks in Zambia, including Standard Chartered Bank – in a partnership with the Zambia Telecommunication Company (Zamtel) – have only been able to roll out mobile banking services.
UBA’s Africard will also allow card holders to pay utility bills anytime.
The UBA card is expected to penetrate rural areas faster than mobile banking. This is because it can be used by both the banked and the unbanked, and has already been recognised by the Bankers Association of Zambia as the most innovative card product.
UBA entered the Zambian market in January last year, which was its first entry into the southern African market.
MasterCard has a new virtual cash card in the Zambian market as well – in partnership with mobile operator Airtel – that is already providing online shopping services via mobile phones to the unbanked.
UBA has more than 7.2m customers across 750 branches in 18 African countries.