3 December 2010

Rwanda: BK Commences International ATM Visa Service

Bank of Kigali (BK), Rwanda's biggest commercial bank in terms of assets announced that its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) network now accepts international VISA cards, a move that will reduce queues in the banking hall.

In an interview with Business Times yesterday, BK's Marketing Manager, Januario Mucyo said the service which has been available since the beginning of this month will see customers use their ATM VISA cards across its 15 network of ATM machines across the country.

"Whoever has a VISA card can withdraw money from any of our ATM machines. It is enhancing our electronic delivery channels and making it easy for people to access their money without necessary having to queue in the banks," he said.

This move follows BK's acquisition of rights from VISA International, the company in charge of the ATM cards last year.

As principle members of VISA International, BK is also allowed to issue â-¯ ATM VISA cards to its customers.

According to Mucyo, the bank intends to increase local ATM card circulation among its customers from the current approximately 4450 to at least 100,000 next year.

"Our entire ATM machine network is compatible with simtel arrangement. By the first quarter of next year we will be having our own in house machine," he added.

Previously, SIMTEL, the national switch for inter-bank ATM services that operates 27 ATMs was in charge of such transactions.

With in house printing of the ATM cards, Mucyo said this would reduce the amount of time it takes to acquire a card.

"We will be able to print ATM cards instantly within one hour of opening an account," he said.

The other principle member of VISA International in Rwanda is Ecobank. Access Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank use their parent companies to issue the VISA ATM cards.

The other banks on the market have to negotiate with the two principle banks to be able to extend VISA services to their customers.

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