There is nothing more convenient than being able to pay for goods and services without having to use cash these days. That was also the experience for Joel Safari who, while driving his taxi on a recent night, realised he had run out fuel and had no cash on him. He started despairing when suddenly he remembered he could use his Visa card to fuel up at any Engen station.
Since its entry into the Rwandan market in 2008, Engen Rwanda, the country’s leading retailer of petroleum products, has been embracing cashless payment methods in a bid to offer its customers ever more convenient services.
Starting with its Engen 1-card that was launched in 2010, its customers have always been offered alternatives to cash payments. Through the 1-card, a customer is also able to monitor their fleet consumption with kilometres reading, tag identification and online reports.
Thus, the 1-card service offers customers the liberty and unprecedented possibility to oversee their fleet’s consumption from a distance.
Following the 1-card, Engen went on to partner with most commercial banks that issue Visa cards to their clients to allow motorists pay for fuel, lubricants and other services at all Engen service stations in the country.
“We are delighted with this achievement which is in line with our brand promise to always keep our customers at the top of our priorities. The Visa card payment option is one strong way of ensuring that we deliver on this promise,” said Sarah Doukoure, the Director General of Engen Rwanda, in an interview in 2015 shortly after the launch of the Visa payment option.
Since mid-April 2015, all Engen petrol stations have been installed with Point-of-Sale (POS) devices to accept Visa card payments.
“Having completed this step, we can now confidently tell all drivers in Rwanda that there is no reason for carrying cash to fuel up at Engen. At any time of day or night, you can come and pay with your Visa card. There is no minimum amount required,” Doukoure explained.
And customers like Safari testify that being able to pay with Visa at Engen petrol stations is much quicker and more convenient.
“It didn’t expect this to be possible in Rwanda –being able to fill your tank and just give your card to make the payment, it’s so quick,” a thrilled customer said.
Perhaps the confidence of Engen Rwanda’s management to spearhead cashless payments is based on the efforts of the government to enable the cashless economy. Today, anyone with bank account can request a Visa card from his bank, and more and more businesses, just like Engen, accept the cards for payment.
But Engen hasn’t left it at that. Last year, the fuel marketer partnered with telecom companies MTN and Tigo to facilitate mobile payment platforms at its stations. Starting with MTN Rwanda’s rollout, Engen customers can now purchase fuel, lubricants and other services using MTN Mobile Money.
“We believe that this partnership with Engen will increase efficiency and add value to our customers’ lives through the ease, and convenience of MTN Mobile Money,” said MTN’s General Manager of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Mary Asiimwe, at the launch event last year.
Since the introduction of MTN Mobile Money in Rwanda in 2010, the strong uptake of the service has demonstrated the high demand for easy-to-use, safe, and affordable payment options. By December 1st 2016, the company had recorded over 1 million active subscribers on its mobile payment platform.
And Engen has been quick to take note of the evolution, and make the option available to its customers.
“It’s all about delivering the best forecourt experience. This partnership between MTN and ENGEN is an important step in achieving a complete cashless environment at our petrol stations increasing convenience and safety for our customers,” said Doukoure at the launch at the Engen Kicukiro Station.
As a retailer of fuel, one of the most common and most consumed commodities, Engen’s move to make cashless payments possible is good news for Rwanda’s dream of a cashless economy.
About Engen Rwanda
ENGEN Rwanda, commenced operations in Rwanda in November 2008 acquiring the assets of TOTAL and thus becoming a leading producer and marketer of a wide range of fuels, lubricants and oil-based products in the country. It currently operates 21 service stations in Rwanda and operates across 18 African markets.