Cost, technological complexity, control and lack of education are the major issues facing the growth of internet payment services in Kenya. This is the position taken by Bardo Group, a new entrant in the online payment arena. Operating in the country since January 2014, the company whose head office is in Mauritius is also incorporated in Hong Kong, Panama and UK. “We chose Kenya as our first location within the region due to the fact that it was the first country in East Africa to have an e-commerce acquiring bank and the best offering in terms of e-commerce transaction processing” said Bardo CEO Laurent Alonzo who brings over 18 years experience in the industry.
“Internet penetration in the country is impressive with over 19 million local users as well as a growing middle class who have greater access to debit and credit cards as well as higher purchasing power and are looking for convenience in their day to day operations. Further, the government, banks and local companies are also encouraging people to embrace cashless transactions through use of cards as well as online payment services, we therefore see great potential for Bardo in Kenya and indeed the region”
With an increasing number of transactions over the internet in Africa, Bardo Group has specifically developed a Risk Control Software for the African market which promises the highest level of security for internet payment users due to its back-office support which provides reporting and online tracking of any payments thereby eliminating the possibility of fraudulent or unsafe transactions. To further enhance security, all accounts have their own unique descriptor to easily recognize the merchant which eliminates the need for verification procedures making transactions faster and safer.
“A major challenge we have realised is that online payment is still regarded with a lot of suspicion as most people do not understand the process. Further, customers need to be protected from unsafe transactions which could lead to a loss of their money. We would therefore call for tighter regulatory controls to ensure that companies offering the service acquire PCIDSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard); the recommended and highest security standard in the world in online payment which was developed by the world’s largest credit and debit card providers including VISA and MasterCard. Within the region, we are the only company with this level of certification and are audited on an annual basis to ensure compliance” concluded Mr Alonzo. Currently, Bardo has partnered with Visa and Mastercard and are in negotiations with other card brands.