Nation Media Group’s debit card, National Hela, has been abandoned after operating for nearly four years in space-without customers and merchants who cared about it.

The debit card was targeting small and medium-sized enterprises but Nation Media Group and its sister firm Diamond Trust Bank, (DTB) didnt know what to do with the card after launch. Customer support was poor and NMG had no clue what to do with it. Apart from one or two diaspora targeted campaigns NMG kept paying bloggers to push the card online instead of actually reaching out to merchants and users to increase its adoption.

NationHela card was issued by DTB Bank and Nakumatt Supermarkets at Kshs. 500 and was linked to one’s mobile phone number and the NationHela online platform. The firm had expected users especially Kenyans in the diaspora to send money to Kenya to their friends and family from their bank accounts to a Nation Hela card in Kenya. It was also expected to be a savior to the then growing online buyer population who were expected to use NationHela card for their online payments or purchases.

According to Herbert Rajula, then the Nation Hela’s Commercial Manager,  the card was to be used to facilitate payrolls and for general purposes.

“We have, therefore, targeted Jungle Nuts in Thika to kick start our project. Registration is ongoing for the 1,800 staff”, said the commercial manager during the launch.

Customers were allowed to deposit up to $10,000 in their accounts to kick start its use. Other companies, Rajula said , which were approached to take up Nation Hela, were Van De Berg flower farm in Naivasha, KAPA oil, PwC and struggling Mumias Sugar. DTB Pre-Paid Card programme manager Gilbert Shigoli believed that low income earners receive money from relatives abroad and for this reason there was the need to tap into the market by registering SMEs’ staff.