Start shopping online Now from Uganda with these two banks


I remember a couple of years back about 7 to be precise, I went to a bank in town (I won’t disclose) and I asked them to avail me a Visa Card that I could use to shop online. 7 years later, I am still shocked at the answer they gave me; “Sir you will need 10 million shillings (about $3900) to have that kind of card”.

But as the banking sector was liberalized, many banks entered the market and the competition has forced them to innovate and release products that help retain clients.

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Now, even in Uganda, you can shop online like anyone else with a  few exceptions of the global online stores that are country and location specific. You can also shop at your favorite store any where in the world as long as they support online shopping and can ship to a preferred location. The unfortunate bit is that most of the global online stores don’t offer shipping to Africa or beyond a stipulated range outside of their location.

This however hasn’t stopped people from shopping online. I for example shop online and then ship the product to any colleague of mine nearest to the stipulated shipping area who then arranges how to get it to me in Africa either by DHL if its urgent or wait for someone who is traveling to Uganda.

Beyond just shopping online, I make payments for services online like pay fees for a professional course, purchase an app or pay for hosting of my personal website. While this was very complex a few years ago, its quite simpler today. If you told someone you were shopping online while in Uganda, many would puzzled.

As payment systems which are part of the important infrastructure for E Commerce development become accessible, Shopping online is becoming way much easier. Even though it’s been available for a while, it wasn’t easy for people to own functional VISA credit/Debit cards. When the banks in Uganda would issued a Visa card, what they were actually giving you was a card that can helped you access your money wherever you saw the Visa card sign (for instance at an ATM or hotel) but not necessarily one that you can use to shop online.

There are two banks that are making that very easy. UBA and Crane Bank. Of course many others of the 24 Ugandan banks offer the service but not all make it as easy and simple yet still secure as the two I have named.

UBA offers its prepaid Chip and PIN card they are calling the UBA Africard. I was able to get the card in exactly 3 hours after I filled in the required documentation. A colleague affirmed that Crane Bank was the same and that getting a functional Card was not complicated. Most importantly, I was able to integrate my card with Paypal that further simplifies payment solutions not to mention that there were sufficient security checks that made using my card safe and secure.


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  • roger bambino

    This this post is not accurate at some level. Since 2008, i have been using my VISA card for online shopping on eBay with Standard Chartered bank. I even don’t think UBA and Crane Bank had thought of VISA by then …. Besides the chip and pin function is useless in Uganda for a common man since it has nothing to do with online purchases anyway. Its more mainly for PoS at supermarkets,etc which is rare.
    However am impressed that banks are now pushing them now days, I guess we shall more VISA supporting shops in the future

    • Interesting. Just to clarify, it’s not that Standard Chartered didn’t have VISA cards, the problem was they required me a student at the time to have an account balance of 10M with them to access online shopping services. Is that what they required of you too?

      • Kalanziut

        Hahahahah, and you just mentioned that bank…LOL
        Anyhow I’m happy too that now several banks offer VISA cards. With Crane Bank though, something seems fishy; the VISA charge is UGX 4,400 or even more and also their exchange/dollar rates seem to be a little high; UGX 3,842.857 as of 06th Sept 2015

        @disqus_emppOYKgpq:disqus if you have tried UBA, please advise on their services