Egypt saw a total of 13.5 million users of electronic wallets for mobile phones at the end of May, according to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA).
The figures were published in an NTRA report on indicators for mobile wallet use, where customers transfer money from one electronic wallet account to another. The report also showed that the mobile wallet users undertook a total of 4.8m electronic transactions per month at the end of May.
According to the report, deposits, cash withdrawals, and transfers were the top three most used services in these transactions by subscribers.
It added that deposits and cash withdrawals accounted for 35% of the transactions that take place via electronic wallets via a mobile phone every month. They were carried out either through service outlets for mobile companies, or ATMs for banks.
Financial transfers accounted for 33% of monthly transactions that took place through electronic wallets.
Charging mobile phone balance services accounted for 26% of the total transactions carried out via e-wallets monthly, according to the NTRA.
The authority said that the Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Daqahleya, and Sharqeya governorates accounted for 50% of mobile-based electronic wallet holders.
Although the use of e-wallets was spread across all age groups, it was particularly noticeable amongst the 26-50 age group.
Vodafone accounted for 62.7% of mobile wallets, Orange by 25%, Etisalat by 12%, and WE by 0.3%. The number of electronic transactions was distributed as follows: Vodafone accounted for 86.5%, Orange by 8.5%, Etisalat by 4.5%, and WE by 0.5%.
The NTRA has recently undertaken several initiatives to stimulate electronic wallet use in Egypt, including obliging mobile companies to stop printing and issuing scratch cards worth EGP 50 or more. The authority has also encouraged the use of other electronic charging methods, such as e-wallets, smart phone applications, or various online payment websites and applications.
The authority has put in place an initiative to encourage subscribers to use electronic payment systems through offers submitted by the mobile companies. This would see customers obtain 50 times the balance of the charged minutes and free units when the balance was recharged using electronic payment methods.
The NTRA has also allowed the free registration of electronic wallets for mobile phone, using electronic identification methods such as the USSD application for each company or code. This has led to an increase of 1.2 million electronic wallets for mobile phone in only two months.
This in turn has increased the total number of mobile wallets from 12.3m in March, reflecting those registered over seven years, to 13.5m wallets in May.
The NTRA has also decided to increase the maximum limits for operations from EGP 6,000 per day to EGP 30,000, and the balance from EGP 10,000 to EGP 50,000. This has led to an increase in services provided to citizens through electronic wallets for mobile phones, and the high average value of money transferred, which has increased by 15% to EGP 4,336.