The General Manager of Visa Egypt Tarek Mahfouz said that the company’s programme that aims to educate government employees on how to use government payroll cards in cooperation with the Institute of Banking, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), and Banque Misr (BM) is achieving financial inclusion in Egypt.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Mahfouz explained that educating employees with basic information about payroll cards is important for achieving this goal.
He added that Visa aims to develop digital payments tools, in order to provide different options for cardholders in various countries around the world, and to secure those transactions with the latest technology available in the world.
What is the importance of educating government employees of the payroll cards programme that Visa is implementing in corporation with the Institute of Banking, NBE, and BM?
This programme is a big step toward activating financial inclusion, particularly as it will show government employees—payroll cards holders—the multiple advantages of using these cards to purchase and pay for services easily. They will save time and effort through purchasing with the payroll cards that are considered safe and smooth payment tool that facilitates their daily lives.
What are the products offered by Visa for the electronic payments service in Egypt?
Visa has a large number and various products and solutions that make the processes of payments and receiving payments safe, smooth, and comfortable, and the company’s products of prepaid cards and debit cards are flexible payment tools between cardholders, merchants, and banks.
At the same time we are working with our partners—financial institutions—to broaden the acceptance of electronic payment products.
We launched a very successful initiative with the NBE and Qatar National Bank (QNB) to expand the acceptance base. Through it we reached a large number of selling points to new merchants, so as to give greater degree of acceptance of the cards, including payroll cards.
What is Visa’s work strategy in the coming period?
Visa’s strategy is aimed at the development of digital payment tools, in order to allow multiple options for Visa cardholders. The company is making great efforts to find a balance between the ability to grow and simplicity.
We are committed to innovation; therefore, Visa is working on analysing the market to launch new products and solutions that meet the changing needs of our users.
Innovation does not mean surpassing competitors, but rather continuing to streamline and increase the safety of the financial transaction conducted by users. Innovation also means that we provide products that add value to the life of the user. This sense guides our way of innovation at Visa.
What is the role played by Visa to help the Egyptian government in the deployment of electronic payments?
Visa plays a supportive role in assisting the Egyptian government with expanding the use of electronic payments. We cooperated with the Ministry of Finance to provide a road map for electronic payments of the government. These transactions account for 2% of consumer spending in the Egyptian market. There is a great potential for the deployment of electronic payments in Egypt.
Among the efforts to spread Visa electronic payments in Egypt is cooperating with banks that issue cards for government salaries. This helps in the provision of appropriate payment instruments for government employees.
It must be emphasised that it is not about the number of cards being issued, but the spending pattern that goes with the cards.
And how could that be fulfilled?
Awareness is very important in this project, so as to provide employees with basic information about payroll cards. It should be known that no fees will be applied for switching to payroll cards. Employees should also be informed that cards are safe and ease to use. They should understand that they will enable them to pay for their goods and services without the burden of bearing cash. Moreover, cards are easily replaced in case of loss, unlike cash.
What is Visa planning to offer in Egypt in the coming period?
Visa is preparing to launch its new product mVisa. It aims to broaden acceptance of electronic payments, pushing forwards financial inclusion and support for Visa card holders.
mVisa works on smart and regular phones, once connected to the internet. It targets most vendors, as it is easy to use.
Anyone carrying a mobile phone can use the service to buy products and services. It also saves time, effort and cost associated with transportation. It can be used to pay for electricity, gas, and all bills.
mVisa code is put in a certain number to merchants, and the card holder can shoot the symbol through his phone camera or enters the number of the merchant to make the transaction through the card.
mVisa simplicity and prevalence depends on the prevalence of cell phones. Cell phones are used as an easy and smooth payments tool, which will lead to widespread acceptance, even among labourers.
How do you secure the payments made through that service?
The consumer enters the amount to be paid by mVisa, without needing to use the card or to pass it on the point of sale (POS) then the merchant receives a message on his phone to confirm receiving the amount from the consumer.
mVisa is easy to be used with various merchants categories and in almost all areas, especially in the remote ones that Banks were having difficulties supplying POS with due to the cost and the burden of maintenance. Thus, mVisa becomes an effective tool to achieve the financial inclusion.
The product also allows the money transfer from one individual to another.
The partnership with mobile device producers is important to enable users to enjoy an easy and convenient experience and secure financial transactions.
There is another service that was launched earlier by Visa called “Tokenisation”. What is in this service for the banks?
This service helps banks which issue Visa cards to facilitate payment services via mobile devices. Visa announced recently its digital empowerment programme, which depends mainly on Tokenisation technology.
This programme provides an integrated commercial framework and links the banks providing Visa products and services to the current and future digital portfolios, without the need for contracting directly with more than one supplier.
Through this programme, banks, merchants and technology companies can witness a growth in their operations, without additional payments to finish the banking operations through technology companies.
Google is the first global partner in this programme sponsored by Visa through Android BAI application. The financial operations which will be conducted by any user via Android BAI will be accepted at any merchant who accepts contactless payment cards.
The related banks have to sign an agreement to activate this programme and the use of Tokenization either to participate in the solutions offered by the Android system and third parties using the same system, or to enable the use of their own applications.
How does Visa secure its customers against fraud?
Protecting customers’ data and securing them against fraud is always a top priority for Visa, as well as investing in advanced technology in this area.
I would like also to refer to the technology of Tokenisation which depends on global coding standards announced last year. This technology is designed to enhance the security of payment processes via Internet and mobile phones.
This service is considered an alternative for the critical information about the available payment systems on plastic cards, and they work according to symbolic numbers to facilitate safe payment online and on mobile phones.
For more confidence in global payment systems, Visa has allocated large investments for the protection of data and avoidance of fraud.
Thanks to the technological inventions, we were able to reduce fraud to less than 0.006 and at the same time, the volume of transactions using Visa cards has increased significantly.
Indeed, the fraud rate in the Middle East and North Africa regions has declined to less than 0.003 compared to other regions.
“Visa Net” network provides financial transactions in more than 30 different ways, based on the situation the card is used as well as its type.
This degree of security for financial transactions through Visa Net is primarily based on innovations carried out by Visa since its listing in the stock exchange in 2008.
I would like to point out that innovation and creativity are changing everything around us. In 1990, there were 313,000 computers connected to the internet; by the year 2020, there will be about 20bn to 50bn devices connected to the internet, depending on the spreading degree of population. The devices include computers, smart phones, tablets, cars, gaming consoles, televisions, cameras and more.
Recently, Visa announced the launch of Visa Developer, an achievement transforms the world’s largest electronic payments network to an open platform encouraging innovation in payments and commerce sectors. For the first time in the company’s nearly 60 year history, application developers will have access to Visa’s technical systems.
The new Visa Developer platform is expected to contribute to helping financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies meet the demands of consumers and merchants, who increasingly rely on devices connected to internet to shop, pay, and get paid.
At launch, the new platform will offer access to some of Visa’s most popular payment technologies and services including account holder identification, person-to-person payment capabilities, secure in-store and online payment services such as Visa Checkout, currency conversion and consumer transaction alerts.
Visa plans to provide more accesses to its financial services through its new platform in the next year.