Kenyans increase use of plastic cards amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The use of plastic cards in Kenya surged 63 percent between April and August as the east African nation citizens embraced cashless transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

The plastic cards transactions hit 5.76 billion Kenyan shillings (about 53.2 million U.S. dollars) in August, up from 32.6 million dollars in March when the disease broke out in Kenya, the bank's economic data released Thursday showed.

Of all the plastic cards in the east African nation, debit cards remained the most popular, accounting for over 90 percent of all transactions, followed by credit cards and charge cards.

The number of users rose to clock 11.5 million in August.

The trend in the usage of plastic money during the COVID-19 period in the east African nation mirrors the use of mobile money, which has risen to an all-time high of 4.4 billion dollars a month.

The central bank in March waived some bank and mobile money charges to facilitate use of cashless transactions to curb spread of COVID-19.