Mastercard has partnered with Kenya’s government and several large national banks on the rollout of a chip-and-PIN enabled prepaid card targeting unbanked Kenyan citizens.

The goal is to reduce citizens’ reliance on cash, especially for government benefits.

The Huduma Card, launched as part of the Kenyan government’s Vision 2030 plan to expand financial inclusion to more citizens, will launch this year through Commercial Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust Bank, Equity Bank and Kenya Commercial Bank, Mastercard said in a Feb. 7 press release.

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Kenyans may register for the card at participating banks at no cost. Those who register will also be enrolled in core government programs to receive funds and purchase additional public benefits from the National Hospital Insurance Fund and the National Social Security Fund, among others, Mastercard said in the release.

Cardholders may use funds loaded to their Huduma cards to pay for goods and services online, in stores and to withdraw cash at Mastercard-branded ATMs, according to the release.

“This is Kenya’s first multipurpose social payment card with payment functionality and we are excited to see the instant, substantial and positive impact that this will have on the lives of millions of citizens previously excluded from the financial mainstream,” said Dennis Mutuku, CEO of Huduma Kenya Secretariat, which heads the program.

Mastercard plans to roll out the Huduma card broadly across Kenya throughout this year, said Daniel Monahan, Mastercard’s division president for sub-Saharan Africa, in the release.

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