The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) decided to extend the exemption of some banking services from commissions until the end of 2022 in light of the precautionary measures taken by the bank to confront the novel coronavirus.
In a letter addressed to banks, the CBE said that this comes within the framework of the instructions issued on 15 March 2020 and the subsequent periodic books regarding the precautionary measures to be taken to ensure the continuity of banks carrying out their various business and activities to meet the banking needs of customers, the continuous follow-up of the banking market, and in order to provide more support and facilitation for citizens with the aim of benefiting from the gains achieved during the past period from the increasing demand of customers to use electronic payment methods and channels, as well as implementing the direction of the CBE and the current banking sector towards shifting to a society less dependent on cash.
Consequently, the CBE decided to continue exempting customers from all expenses and commissions for bank transfer services that are carried out in the EGP through electronic channels, such as the internet, mobile banking, and instant payments network applications.
With regard to payment services using the mobile phone, the CBE decided to issue electronic wallets for free and to exempt customers from transfer fees for the first transaction per month from any mobile phone wallet to any other mobile phone wallet, and to set a maximum pricing estimated at EGP 1 per transaction on transfers made between any phone wallets belonging to the same service provider (on-us), and placing a transfer commission estimated at a maximum of 0.5% of the transfer value while not exceeding EGP 10 per transaction on transfer transactions made between any mobile phone wallet and any other non-affiliated mobile phone wallet for the same service provider (off-us).
With regard to bank cards, the CBE decided to exempt citizens from all the expenses of issuing prepaid cards, provided that these cards are contactless.
In terms of payment services using contactless payment tools, the CBE obliged licensed banks to cancel all fees and commissions borne by private sector merchants on operations using contactless payment tools issued by banks operating in Egypt without entering the password.
Regarding the initiative to increase the number of micro-, small-, and medium-sized companies (MSMEs) wishing to activate electronic collection services via the internet (e-commerce) from private sector merchants, the CBE obliged licensed banks to cancel all fees borne by these merchants wishing to activate these services for the first time during the aforementioned period, with the necessity of committing to activating the rapid response code, as well as accepting Meeza national payment cards through these applications and websites.
It clarified that these fees include service activation fees that are paid once before starting the service, monthly fees for the service, and additional services fees — if any — which include encryption services for tokenisation cards, recurring services, and other services.
In terms of cash withdrawal transactions from ATMs, the CBE has set the maximum commission for cash withdrawals from ATMs for cards issued by other banks at only EGP 5 and also decided to increase the limit for cash withdrawals for a single transaction from ATMs of other banks of up to EGP 4,000.
In its letter, the CBE stressed that banks should immediately abide by these instructions, with the need to educate customers about them through all possible communication channels affiliated with banks, especially electronic channels.