Orange launches Visa card in partnership with Equity Bank

•Visa card increases reach of Orange Money to over 1.8m ATMs and 22m merchant outlets locally and internationally in a secure and convenient way.

•Orange Money re-affirms itself as the most versatile and comprehensive mobile money service in Kenya

Nairobi, November 28, 2011 - Integrated telecommunications services provider Orange has today announced a partnership with Visa and Equity Bank to launch the first ever Debit Card directly linking bank accounts and the Orange mobile money services.

Telkom Kenya’s Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein said the launch of the card was informed by the need for customers to have additional channels through which they can access their money as well as widening the range of transactions they can make, including ATM withdrawals, merchant payments and online shopping.

Ghossein said the introduction of the Orange Money Visa card was in line with the brand’s promise of providing convenience to customers, to access its unmatched and versatile services through multiple channels.

The security features of the Orange Money Visa Card include a microchip which is virtually impossible to counterfeit. The encryption prevents unauthorized access to information stored on the card, ensuring a safe transaction process by the user. In addition, the microchip feature will allow Orange Money customers to enjoy attractive loyalty benefits.

Ghossein went on to say that the card will not have restrictions on maximum or minimum deposits to be held as it is linked to the customer’s personal account, noting that “the only limit in the transaction will be the amount of money that you have in your account.” Moreover, the card has a host of inbuilt security features that help one manage their finances.

The CEO of Equity Bank, Dr. James Mwangi, said that the launch of this debit card was a welcome move, more so at a time when cybercrime was on the increase on a global scale.

“The partnership with Telkom Kenya gives those using their Orange lines yet another channel to access their bank accounts from the Orange Money VISA Card which is EMV compliant. The convergence between the two institutions will continue to open up new innovations in accessing banking services through mobile phone technology,” said Dr. Mwangi

Equity Bank was the first bank in the country to install the EMV (Europay-Mastercard-VISA) technology in the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) outlets and point of sales (POS) throughout the country. The EMV card contains a small computer chip, which not only gives them greater memory capacity, but improves security for consumers by making it nearly impossible for unscrupulous people to decode or tamper with. The chip is capable of securely storing data that uniquely identifies the card and the cardholder, putting an end to misuse through loss theft or and counterfeiting. Equity Bank is the first Bank in East Africa to comply with all PCI/DSS and EMV standards.

Ghossein said that the new channel is expected to grow the number of Orange Money subscribers; bolstered by the value proposition where customers can now use their Orange Money accounts for their local and international transactions within the Visa Network.

“The partnership with Orange and Equity comes as the need for mobile solutions on the continent become more prevalent. Linking Visa’s extensive card network with a mobile application is a logical next step in terms of Visa’s mobile strategy to extend Visa’s reach and bring more people into the formal Financial Services sector,” said Victor Ndlovu, Country Manager for East Africa.

Kenya leads the region in the use of plastic cards, with over 7.9 million cards in use while Tanzania and Uganda have 300,000 and 700,000 cards, respectively. Rwanda and Burundi have about 5,000 cards in use.

The additional channel has been launched exactly one year after the launch of the Orange Money service, that is pitted to be the most versatile mobile money service in the country; combining the attributes of both the mobile money transfer services with those of mobile banking channels.

Visa Cards are an accepted means of transacting all over the world, connecting consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. The Visa network provides global access to over 1.8 million ATMs, 22 million physical merchant outlets and a wide range of online merchants.

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