visa+cardGlobal electronics payments leader MasterCard Worldwide has rated East Africa among the world’s leading regions in the uptake of contactless payments technology.

MasterCard, which is seeking to distribute five million EMV- and PayPass-enabled debit and prepaid cards in Kenya over the next 18 months, says East Africa, and particularly Kenya, joins the likes of South Africa, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates as the key contributors of growth and innovation hubs.

MasterCard’s PayPass contactless payment network currently boasts nearly 700,000 merchant locations in 51 countries. According to the company, there was a 28 percent year-on-year increase across the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region in 2012.

MasterCard said innovation in contactless payments was the main driver for the growth of PayPass across the region last year, and will continue to be so in the coming months.

Among the innovations in contactless payments in 2012 that helped fuel growth included MasterCard’s partnerships, including an agreement with retail store Nakumatt to introduce multi-currency EMV MasterCard’s Prepaid loyalty card to over one million members in the coming months.

Credit: HumanIPO