Ehab Nasr — the Sub-Governor for Banking Operations and Payment Systems at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) — said that work is currently underway to launch the ‘Know Your Customer’ project, which will enable citizens to open bank accounts electronically without visiting the headquarters and branches of banks.
Nasr explained on the side-lines of the financial technology conference organised by the Al-Ahram Foundation under the auspices of the Cabinet and the CBE that this project will help citizens obtain all electronic banking services and is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
He added that the Instant Payments Project has been completed and will be launched within two weeks. This project will allow electronic transactions to be completed in real time throughout the week and even on official holidays. All banks are expected to finish their technical connection to the system by the end of next April.
Nasr stressed that the legislative amendments made to the law governing the CBE ensured protection of the digital transformation, as it included a section for payments with the aim of setting the general framework for developing payment companies in Egypt.
He explained that many new rules have been issued to develop the financial services provided, the most important of which are the rules for providing payment services using mobile phones. They allow banks to use alternative data to evaluate customers’ credit, such as utility bills, with the aim of giving them small-value credit through mobile wallets.
Furthermore, he pointed out that these amendments would help a large sector of citizens obtain small-value loans, which would integrate a larger number of citizens into the banking sector and enhance financial inclusion.
On the precautionary measures taken by the CBE to combat the coronavirus, Nasr said that these measures had a great impact in increasing electronic transactions. He noted that these measures will continue to be applied until next June. Moreover, prepaid cards can be issued, and wallets opened free of charge, along with making bank transfers and withdrawing cash from ATMs.
Nasr explained that mobile phone wallet transactions increased from EGP 88bn in 2020 to EGP 268bn in 2021 — an increase of 200% — and the number of electronic wallets increased from 9m to 26m, while the number of banks providing electronic wallet services increased to 23 banks, and the number of bank cards increased from 30 million cards to 54 million cards.
Additionally, the volume of transactions through electronic commerce increased from EGP 16bn to EGP 30bn, while the volume of government receipts through banking channels amounted to more than EGP 662bn, and the volume of annual electronic transactions through electronic points of sale (PoS) witnessed a huge boom, jumping from EGP 110bn to EGP 170bn.
Nasr stressed that there has been great development in electronic and digital transactions in Egypt in the last three years, as the number of ATMs increased to 18,500, compared to 13,500 — an increase of 37%. The number of PoS systems also increased to 740,000, compared to 68,000 three years ago — an increase of 978%.