I have used a pre-paid KCB general purpose credit card for over 3 years for almost all of my personal online purchases. In this time, I have never experienced any major downtime or service related issues. I usually top-up my KCB card using M-Pesa which is super convenient meaning I have no need to go in person to one of their branches in order to do so. Therefore, it comes as something of a major surprise that their on-going system upgrade which started last week has clearly messed up services to an unprecedented level.
Its now 5 days since I got an error when buying an Amazon Kindle eBook that my credit card had a problem even when I had recently topped it up sufficiently. Indeed, I just got off the phone with KCB customer service and they are still ‘offline’ and are unable to provide an update as to when it will be back up and running. This system upgrade has clearly gone badly for Kenya’s largest bank, revenue-wise. I dread to imagine how many customers have been affected and I am surprised that the media have not yet picked this up given that we are headed for a week offline with a long weekend looming.
The problem with KCB’s system upgrade means that ALL credit cards are unusable and unable to transact at point of sale (POS) systems online or offline. If one is using these cards for business transactions or even just personal expenses it goes without saying that this has been a challenging week. All I hope is that they sort this problem out by today or else the could lose loads of customers to competitors. More importantly, online payments have become a way of life for me as well as many others in Kenya and the whole process of finding alternatives is something I am not keen on doing.