The Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) Board of Directors has decided to extend, for six months, some of its decisions taken to combat the repercussions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This will mean that the decisions, which were put in place as part of the CBE’s proactive actions against the pandemic, will remain in effect until 30 June 2021.
The CBE’s Board of Directors effected the decisions as part of the move to implement the strategy laid out by the National Council for Payments, headed by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
The extension reflects the CBE’s keenness to protect the national economy, and preserve the gains of Egypt’s economic reforms, whilst also maintaining the banking sector’s stability.
The extended decisions include: the continued exemption for customers from all expenses and commissions on bank transfer services in Egyptian pounds; the free issuance of electronic wallets, including creating virtual card numbers (VCNs) for the wallet; the cancelling of all commissions and fees related to transfers between mobile wallets; the issuance of prepaid contactless cards to citizens for free; and removing fees and commissions for cash withdrawals.
Other decisions that will be extended for the new period include obligating banks that have obtained a licence for electronic acceptance to cancel all fees and commissions that private sector merchants incur. These will be applied to transactions that take place using contactless payment instruments issued by banks operating in Egypt.
CBE Deputy Governor Rami Aboul Naga said that the extensions are being applied to monitor and ensure the continuity of the Egyptian banking sector’s work. They are also designed to ensure ease of accessing banking facilities for Egyptians, and to encourage them to continue the adoption of electronic banking and e-payment channels.
Moreover, CBE Sub-Governor for the Banking Operations and Payment Systems Sector, Amani Shams El-Din, said that the decisions also include the continued cancellation of fees and commissions for cash withdrawals for pension cards.
In this instance, the CBE bears the cash withdrawal fees from ATMs, whose approximate value is projected to be EGP 40m-EGP 60m during the upcoming six-month period. This is in addition to the costs that have been incurred in the previous period, which stand at approximately EGP 90m.
The CBE emphasised that it will continue to closely monitor all local and global developments, so that it can intervene immediately with the appropriate measures. These will ensure that the national economy is protected, and will stimulate the market, whilst maintaining banking and monetary stability.