Egypt's Mobinil launches mobile payment service

Waad Ahmed , Sunday 10 Nov 2013

In collaboration with BNP Paribas Egypt (Now Emirates NBD), Mobinil launches 'Mobi Cash' service under CBE oversight


The Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (Mobinil) launched a money transfer service on Sunday.

In partnership with BNP Paribas Egypt (now Emirates NBD), Mobinil, the giant cellular provider, has become the country’s third mobile operator to launch a money transfer service through mobile payment – 'Mobi Cash', as announced by partners in a press conference on Sunday.

Mobinil says that the service will guarantee the loyalty of its subscribers, while Egypt’s BNP Paribas bank aims to use Mobi Cash to provide banking services for Egyptians who do not have bank accounts, said Ashraf Halim, Vice-President of commercial Mobinil.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) specified that cash transfer services could only be provided by telecom companies in partnership with a single bank, said Shahinaz Fouda, deputy managing director of BNP Paribas Egypt.

To avoid money laundering and other suspicions arising from newly regulated money transfers, Mobi Cash partners have set a minimum limit of LE10 and a maximum limit of LE3000 per day, according to Halim.

“We launched Mobi Cash when we became certain the service was fine and secure,” said Mobinil CEO Yves Gauthier at the press conference.

The first phase of the service was initiated Sunday through Mobinil outlets. In time, small shops capable of meeting Mobinil's criteria will also be included, so that clients can transfer and receive money instantly across Egypt, particularly in small towns, added Halim.

The expansion of this service however awaits the CBE’s approval, which depends on the actual initial outcomes of the money transfer scheme.

“CBE will be tasked with overseeing the new service, as it considers monetary flows outside the banking system,” Fouda told Ahram Online after the conference.

Halim also cited the success of this service in other countries, such as Kenya and Cote D’ivore.

In June, Emirates NBD, Dubai's largest lender, completed the acquisition of BNP Paribas' Egyptian assets, after receiving regulatory approval in the North African country

Etisalat Egypt launched 'Flous' (mobile payment service) in collaboration with the National Bank of Egypt more than four months ago. A few weeks later, Vodafone Egypt launched 'Vodafone Cash' in cooperation with the Housing and Development Bank.

Mobinil was badly hit by the political turmoil that ensued after the toppling of autocratic president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The company reported a net loss of LE296 million in the first six months of 2013, down from a loss of LE47 million in the previous year.

Gauthier noted that the decrease in losses is a positive sign of improvement and attributed them to accelerated depreciation and a sharp decline in tourism revenues.

“We hope that the expected growth in revenue from roaming services next year will stabilise our financials,” added Gauthier.

Mobinil is the oldest mobile carrier in Egypt, currently taking up more than a third of Egypt's mobile market, with 33 million subscribers. 

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