Egypt’s central bank approves smartphone contactless payments

Doaa A.Moneim , Sunday 26 Sep 2021

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Sunday that it has approved the issuance of licenses for smartphone contactless payments.

Central Bank of Egypt s headquarters are seen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, September 7, 2017. REUTERS

The CBE said that the decision was made based on the strategy put forth by Egypt’s National Council of Payments — chaired by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi — which aims to lessen the usage of cash and support the financial inclusion policy. 

The measure will allow merchants to receive payments from debit and credit cards directly on their smartphones without resorting to other external implements using an application that will be linked to the merchant’s banking account. 

The CBE said that this new technique will contribute to covering small merchants and boosting daily order payments.

The institution also ratified regulations on contactless payments a few months ago in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the increasing need to adopt safer payment methods.

The CBE explained that these regulations come within the framework of the bank’s efforts to support and encourage the use of different means and channels of electronic payment in an attempt to shift towards a less cash-dependant economy and to achieve financial inclusion.

Under these regulations, the CBE set the maximum amount of each “tap & go” transaction (i.e., without entering a PIN) at EGP 300, allowing the CBE governor to amend the maximum amount for tap & go transactions at their discretion.

The regulations also recommended that point of sale (POS) terminals accepting such types of cards have a dual interface.

According to the regulations, the international standards ISO/IEC7816 and ISO/IEC14443 must be applied in any communications between contactless payment instruments and a POS.

They also stipulate that awareness campaigns must be launched by the banks for merchants on how to use the different types of contactless payment instruments.

Additionally, the regulations place the responsibility on banks to set measures that will ensure that transactions by customers are not mistakenly duplicated by merchants’ POS terminals.

Short link: