Traveling with a NationHela has been a breeze. Unlike with bank credit cards where you have to call and notify them ahead to approve international charges that may be charged to the card, you don’t have to do that with NationHela – just top up the card and it’s ready to go.
I used it to pay various bills in the Middle east including fast food meals, bar bills and gift purchases. The approvals were instant in all cases after swiping the card and receipts were printed in whatever currency whether AED or US dollars. But one challenge is that, unlike in Kenya when you get an SMS each time you transact, that doesn’t happen when you’re roaming out of the country – and you don’t know how much you have used, and how much is left on the card.
It would be nice if they could email this information to card users as an option. One is supposed to be able to view a statement via the Nation Hela website, but that’s not easily accessible yet. Having a full statement will make the card a truly useful global card to use for corporate travel, removing a headache at many companies of having to make imprest cash payment to staff ahead of travel, and reconciling the expenses after.
With credit cards prone to fraud during international travel, there’s a move to promote and push prepaid cards and use them as an option to credit cards. Other cards in the market include multi-currency cards from I&M Bank and Nakumatt-ones powered by KCB and Diamond-Trust banks.