Egypt entered the second pilot stage of Meeza cards in February. The new system replaces state employees’ payroll cards.
Here is what you need to know about Meeza.
Q: What is the system of Meeza cards?
A: Meeza is part of Egypt’s strategy aimed at digital transformation and financial inclusion. It is also called the national payment card. It targets replacing state employees’ payroll cards with Meeza by the end of 2021.
Q: When was the system approved?
A: It’s been under consideration since 2005, including negotiations with banks eligible to issue the cards.
It was targeted to replace payroll cards by the end of 2019, but this was delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Q: What is the framework of the system?
A: In September 2018, Egypt’s National Council of Payments issued Resolution 2/2018 that approved the adoption of a national trademark payment system to disburse governmental payments as well as in-kind and cash subsidy disbursements.
On 6 August, 2019, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Tarek Amer instructed the banks to embark on the process.
In 2020, a circular, 133/2020, was sent to accounting units in state bodies clarifying the required procedures in preparation for launching the system.
Q: How many beneficiaries of Meeza cards are there?
A: Five million state employees.
Q: How many banks are taking part in the system?
A: Nine banks, including Banque Misr, the National Bank of Egypt, Housing and Development Bank, Arab African International Bank, Emirates NBD, Banque du Caire, Arab Banking Corporation, the United Bank, and the Commercial International Bank, in addition to Egypt’s Post Authority.
Q: Which are the advantages of Meeza?
A: The system provides all banking services, including deposits, withdrawals, and other transactions.
It also allows employees to repay governmental dues using cashless methods and the online point of sale system (POS).
In addition, it provides an in-advance monthly salary withdrawal service (up to 30 percent of the total salary) for state employees. The service will be free of charge for the first six months of using the card.
However, the service is only available for online shopping and at POS. Cash withdrawals are not allowed.
The withdrawn sum will be repaid through deducted monthly instalments starting from day 15 of every month.
The card is valid for five years.
Q: What are the stages of implementation?
A: There are two pilot stages. The first started in February 2020 in Cairo and a number of governorates. Until present, 37,000 Meeza cards have been issued.
From February to April 2021, the finance ministry targets replacing 1.2 million state employees’ payroll cards with Meeza cards and more will follow in the coming months.
Q: How will the new cards benefit Egypt’s economy?
A: Meeza cards are expected to save about 25 percent of currency issuance and around 50 percent of the time needed to perform the service.
It also reduces the required procedures, which is expected to contribute to the advancement of Egypt’s rank in the international indices regarding doing business and transparency.