Equity Bank Embraces American Express
The partnership, which builds on Equity Bank’s reputation for offering innovative products and services, gives it the exclusive rights to issue AMEX cards in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. ROBIN OBINO reports
Ever innovative, the Equity Bank Group has accorded its wide customer base the privilege of reaping the benefits of an internationally award winning programme, Membership Rewards, from American Express. This comes in the wake of a new partnership between Bank and American Express Company (AMEX).
The programme allows holders of Green and Gold AMEX Cards to automatically register for the programme where they receive one point for every Ksh100 spent at merchants (including online) and another for every Ksh200 spent at Automated Teller Machines (ATM). The points never expire and can be redeemed for rewards including shopping vouchers, luxury goods, air tickets and hotel accommodation.
The partnership, which builds upon Equity Bank’s reputation for offering innovative products and services, gives it the exclusive rights to issue AMEX cards in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The issuance of the AMEX-branded products begins by the first half of 2014.
The products will be introduced in Kenya first, with additional cards to be launched in Tanzania and Uganda throughout 2014, subject to regulatory approval. Equity Bank will also acquire merchants for the American Express network in these countries. This is aimed at supporting the expansion of the American Express network by developing and maintaining new merchant relationships in the region.
Under the terms of the agreement, the bank will be responsible for all elements related to the issuance of the products, including designing the product features, owning the customer relationships and providing billing and credit management.
Both Equity Bank American Express Green Card and the Equity Bank American Express Gold Card have been designed specifically with the bank’s clients in mind. The clients have the opportunity to choose between the two Cards depending on their personal preferences which include travel, lifestyle and financial needs.
The Green Card offers a range of retail and lifestyle benefits and is ideal for those who will mainly use their Card to spend at local merchants in Kenya. The Gold Card offers an additional tier of travel and lifestyle benefits and is particularly suited to those who are more frequent travellers or more likely to spend on leisure such as dining out.
Mr Andrew Stewart, AMEX Vice President and General Manager, Partner Card Services Turkey, Middle East and Africa, who presided over the launch, termed it as an important milestone for both parties as it brings an opportunity to offer tailored products for Kenyan consumers characterised by outstanding rewards and benefits.
“This marks a key step in our growing partnership with Equity as we work together to meet the needs of a rapidly evolving payments landscape in the country. We are excited to partner with Equity Bank to launch the first American Express Cards in Kenya,” he said.
Dr James Mwangi, Equity Bank Group Chief Executive Officer said the Bank’s mission is to best serve and meet the financial needs of more than nine million customers. “Our association with American Express, a world leading payments company, is therefore part of this mission to deliver nothing but the best card solutions.”
Equity Bank Group has made significant investments in its diaspora remittances, merchant acquiring infrastructure and banking and transaction processing by connecting to leading global payment systems.
Late last year, the two companies signed an agreement where Equity Bank customers can use American Express Cards in the Bank’s terminals and ATMs. In August this year, Equity marked yet another milestone by partnering with McKinsey & Company, a respected strategy advisor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions, for a business strategy review.
The bank’s engagement with McKinsey, will give the bank access to a pool of global management resources required to fuel its transformational strategy geared at changing banking into a lifestyle