The banking and finance sector in Egypt is going through a transformation with a move away from legacy systems and a rapidly changing payments landscape. Without doubt the emerging sector is becoming more agile and efficient, strategic partnerships are being formed, new products launched and more flexible payment platforms introduced.
It may surprise some but Egypt is currently one of the most popular locations for fin-tech start-ups, competing with supposedly more progressive countries like the UAE. It is also rapidly moving towards a cashless society and is seeking to reach sections of the community previously untapped by the sector.
Making ever larger strides into the Egyptian national psyche – individual banks now even have the clout to make official agreements with English premier league clubs –the sector is embarking on an avalanche of ambitious partnerships, not just between organisations in the finance sector but with other verticals.
The country has also seen a substantial increase in the use of mobile payment services, while technology helps millions of Egyptian access their money through ATMs.
Volante Technologies and North African payments expert eVision announce partnership
Volante Technologies Inc, a global provider of software for the integration, processing and orchestration of payments and financial messages on premise or as a cloud service, has announced its partnership with eVision to deliver efficient and agile payment solutions across the Egyptian and North African banking and finance markets.
eVision is a leading software solution provider in North Africa with a strong presence in Egypt that focuses on solutions to help clients with payments, financial transaction dispute management, anti-money laundering and SWIFT message archiving and workflow.
Through interactions with its local client base, eVision recognised a growing appetite for the latest payments processing technologies. After rigorous evaluation, eVision chose Volante to address their clients’ needs in the payments market in an efficient and agile manner.
Many banks in Egypt still rely on legacy systems for their payment and remittance processes, but there is a growing acceptance of the need to implement flexible payment platforms to compete with international and local banks and collaborate with fintech disruptors looking to increase market share.
The VolPay Suite is designed specifically to accelerate all aspects of payments transformation projects, including the cost of change in local and international financial message standards.
Mick Fennell, Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Volante Technologies, said: “We are delighted to partner with eVision to extend the reach of Volante’s payment solutions to the Egyptian and wider North African market. Market participants no longer want to depend on external specialist consultancies – they need tools to create more agile, efficient systems meeting the needs of a changing and dynamic payments landscape.”
Amr Soliman, Founder and CEO, eVision, said: “When it comes to Volante’s Microservices-based architecture, we believe it is second to none and, unlike legacy products their technology enables customers to build highly configurable and extensible business services. Our markets are opening up, and banks need to invest now for the future to compete against local and foreign financial institutions and disruptors for real time execution, open banking standards, and next generation market initiatives. We are excited about what VolPay is able to offer them.”
CIB partners with Careem Egypt to promote e-payments
The Commercial International Bank-Egypt (CIB), a leading Egyptian private bank, has announced a pioneering collaboration model with transport company Careem-Egypt – a first for the local market.
The new partnership provides Careem-Egypt with an integrated set of digital financial solutions to efficiently manage payments to company captains via CIB Smart Wallet. Careem staff can also deposit and withdraw cash conveniently from the bank’s large network of ATMs and local authorised agents.
Moreover, the new partnership supports the company’s management of all cash flows and e-payments to individuals, suppliers and governmental entities.
“Through our significant partnerships, with Careem-Egypt, we have been successfully able to expand our banking penetration to the under-banked citizens, granting them access to various banking services by using their mobile phones, especially in a society where a majority of people carry mobile phones,” said Mohamed Farag, CIB Chief Digital Officer and Head of Global Transaction Services.
Careem-Egypt is the ideal partner to work with to move towards a cashless society, by introducing more innovative digital payment solutions, integrating technology with financial products in order to cater for under-banked citizens and accelerate the financial inclusion – meaning use of the CIB Smart Wallet can become embedded into the customers’ daily routine.
“At Careem-Egypt, our mission is to simplify people’s lives and we continually pursue innovating ways to achieve this goal. Our partnership with CIB-Egypt demonstrates our commitment to optimise the best customer experience, by sharply focusing on client satisfaction,” said Ramy Kato, Careem Egypt Managing Director.
CIB-Egypt has invested heavily in its digital platforms and IT infrastructure, adopting latest technologies and offering best-in-class services and products. As a result CIB-Egypt has been diversifying its digital banking offering, including internet banking, a mobile banking application, and a wide network of more than 800 ATMs across the country.
Pullquotes for above section
“We have been successfully able to expand our banking penetration to the under-banked citizens.”
“Our mission is to simplify people’s lives and we continually pursue innovating ways to achieve this goal.”
ALEXBANK forms partnership with Vodaphone to expand mobile banking offer
Vodafone Egypt has signed a partnership agreement with ALEXBANK to support Vodafone Cash Mobile Money Transfer.
This new strategic partnership aims at further developing interactive services for Vodafone customers and contributes to providing innovative financial solutions. The agreement enables Vodafone Cash customers to enjoy a complete portfolio of financial services featuring convenient and safe payments directly via their mobile phone, through the MasterCard network.
An agreement was signed by Stefano Gastaut, Vodafone Egypt CEO, and Dante Campioni, Managing Director and CEO of ALEXBANK.
Karim Shehata, Vodafone Egypt Consumer Sales Director, said this new partnership with ALEXBANK is a vital step towards the development of mobile e-payments system in Egypt.
“It marks an important move towards a substantial increase in the use of mobile payment services in Egypt, anywhere and at any time, even during vacations and official holidays,” he said.
“Customers can also deposit or withdraw cash from ATMs after receiving required monetary approval.”
He added that the ease of Vodafone Cash e-wallets represents a successful technological model that works to fulfil customers’ daily needs. “Such partnerships will work to transform Egypt into a cashless community,” he said.
Sherif Lokman, Head of Retail Banking and Small Businesses at ALEXBANK, said the agreement would allow Egyptians to enjoy state-of-the-art financial solutions.
Lokman emphasised that ALEXBANK supports the expansion of electronic banking services, alongside ‘Digical’, its own internet banking service, and ‘Ma7fazty’, ALEXBANK‘s electronic wallet solution.
He added that ALEXBANK does not see any conflict between developing its own products and supporting those from other vendors such as the Vodafone Cash wallet as the market potential is extremely wide and a different customer base would be attracted.
“In this phase our priority is to reach more people and serve the objective of achieving better financial inclusion favouring the decrease of cash settlements” he added.
Bank aims to improve the financial inclusion of women through technology
ALEXBANK has also been busy improving the financial inclusion of women living in rural Egypt, enhancing the financial literacy of women, and supporting women in business.
It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Council for Women (NCW) aimed at complying with the Egyptian National Women Strategy 2030.
Dr. Maya Morsy, Head of the National Council for Women, said: “The NCW aims at developing mechanisms to expand financial inclusion to ensure women’s access to financial and non-financial services in every governorate and village in Egypt.”
ALEXBANK will launch a series of user-friendly products designed to appeal to marginalised communities based in rural areas who traditionally have been less inclined to access formal banking services.
Dante Campioni, Managing Director and CEO of ALEXBANK, stated that the partnership with NCW will result in more women adopting formal banking procedures which could improve their financial security and also give a boost to jobs.
Technology will be used via social media to educate new customers about using banking products and the terminology used by financial institutions.
As if to emphasis the bank’s determination to extend into previously unreached territories, ALEXBANK has also announced a multi-year partnership agreement with Liverpool FC.
As part of the agreement the bank will become the club’s official card partner for the Egyptian market. This will see it utilising technology to launch a dedicated series of card products.
Mastercard enables a new era of payments in Egypt through digitisation
Guided by its vision of a cashless world and since the beginning of its operations in the country, Mastercard has made financial inclusion one of its top priorities in Egypt.
Over the years, Mastercard’s collaboration with the Egyptian Government has resulted in a number of significant developments in the local market.
Magdy Hassan, General Manager, Egypt and North Africa, Mastercard, said: “Over the past few years, Egypt has taken a remarkable lead over other markets in the region by becoming one of the first countries in the world to embrace an interoperable mobile ecosystem.
“This achievement has only been possible due to the Egyptian Government’s firm resolve to further drive financial inclusion in the country, as envisioned in the Egypt Vision 2030 that calls for a competitive, balanced and diversified economy.”
Mastercard has worked closely with the Egyptian Government and embarked on a number of ambitious programmes to drive financial inclusion and promote access to digital payments.
The Central Bank of Egypt established an interoperable mobile ecosystem in 2013, meaning that the country became one of the first worldwide to embrace a solution of this kind. Furthermore, the system leverages the high penetration of mobile phones and helps to form a foundation to spur innovation in the payments and remittance sphere.
In addition, Mastercard’s work with the Egyptian Government has enabled 4.6 million government employees to conveniently withdraw their salaries from an ATM using their Mastercard card, which they can also use to make purchases at 60,000 point of sale (POS) terminals across the country.
Hassan added: “Our imminent plans in the market include working closely with the Central Bank of Egypt to contribute to the objectives of the newly established National Council for Payments. In addition, our collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt will also see us discuss new ways to create and enable a conducive regulatory environment aimed at the development of fin-tech regulations. As it currently stands, Egypt is proving to be one of the most popular locations for fin-tech start-ups, competing with the UAE, Lebanon and Jordan.”