The government plans to launch a national payment card that will be used to make various electronic payments before the end of this year, according to Ibrahim Sarhan, chairperson of e-finance.
Sarhan explained that e-finance has already completed all the necessary tests for the card before its launch, under the supervision of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the Egyptian Banks Company for Technological Advancement, which is responsible for managing the national transfer of payments.
According to Sarhan, the card will be issued similar to the Visa and Mastercard cards, but will be processed in local currency only.
The National Payments Council was established in 2017 and chaired by the president. It later announced the card in October 2017.
According to Ayman Hussein, deputy CBE governor for Payment Systems and Information Technology, the card has all the characteristics of electronic payment cards, which can be used for cash withdrawals or purchases, stressing that the main purpose of the card is to enhance financial inclusion and citizens’ access to cards at a lower cost, and to spread of electronic payments.
According to Sarhan, e-finance is currently operating and managing the financial network of the Egyptian government, which includes three systems, namely the payment and electronic collection centre and the Treasury Single Account (TSA), and the Government Fiscal Management Information System (GFMIS), which was able to absorb all electronic collections and payments in coordination with the CBE, banks, and Egypt Post.
He added that the company also implemented the electronic system to rationalise the subsidy of petroleum, Takaful and Karama project, pension cards, and other similar projects.
Sarhan pointed out that e-finance is running around 20m payment cards in Egypt, noting that it aims to increase business size by 50% by the end of the year.