Equity Bank is now the exclusive dealer of American Express cards in Kenya, which will see the lender issue the cards to merchants and its customers.
The lender first signed a pact with American Express under a merchant acquisition agreement in 2013 but at that time Barclays Bank was also in a partnership with the US brand to recruit merchants.
Equity, which is Kenya’s biggest bank by customer numbers with a client base of 11.5 million, said on Thursday in a statement it is now the exclusive partner bank for American Express, as the deal between Barclays and American Express came to an end on May 1.
“We are very pleased to extend our partnership with Equity Bank in Kenya, making them our exclusive acquirer in the country and reflecting our strategy of building relationships with the leading banks around the world,” said American Express vice President of business development for sub-Saharan Africa Catherine Malec.
The pact will allow American Express cardholders to make payments at any Equity Bank point of sale terminal across the country.
Equity will be responsible for managing all aspects of the merchant relationship, including acquisition, statements and marketing activities.
The transactions will be processed through Equity’s card management systems.
“The growth of the American Express merchant network in Kenya will also help to ensure American Express card members feel as comfortable using their cards in Kenya as anywhere else in the world,” said Equity Bank group chief executive James Mwangi.
The bank offers Kenyan consumers the Equity Bank American Express Green Card and the Equity Bank American Express Gold.
Ms Malec said the partnership reflects American Express strategy of building relationships with leading banks around the world. “Our partnership with Equity Bank will continue to allow us to expand the scope and reach of the American Express merchant network and brand, as well as increase our presence in a key country in the region,” said Ms Malec.
Central Bank of Kenya data shows that the number of card transactions fell to 215.6 million in 2017 from 216.2 million in 2016.