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First mobile payment system in Tunisia launches

June 22, 2022

(TAP) - The Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT), on Tuesday, launched the first mobile payment system in Tunisia which will further strengthen financial inclusion and democratise digital transactions in the country.

Seven Tunisian public and private banks have joined the system.

During the kickoff ceremony, governor of the BCT, Marouane El Abassi said this solution will offer several services, including the deposit and withdrawal of cash, transfer of funds, in addition to the payment of commercial transactions.

It essentially targets anyone with an electronic wallet that accepts transactions via mobile. This solution also targets merchants who have a QR code or an EPOS allowing them to interact with the wallet.

This project enriches the payment ecosystem by deploying a mobile payment infrastructure with significant potential for broad penetration and democratisation for the benefit of financial inclusion, said El Abassi.

He added that this solution will allow, among other things, to manage cash transfers by promoting the integration of part of the informal sector's liquidity in the formal.

The ceremony saw the signing of an agreement with seven public and private banks, namely the “Banque Nationale Agricole” (BNA), BH Bank, Amen Bank, the Union Bancaire pour la Commerce et l’Industrie (UBCI), Attijari Bank, the Bank of Tunisia and Emirates (BTE) and Zitouna Bank.

El Abassi called on other financial institutions to accelerate their accession to this national system to democratize the use of mobile payment. He recalled that under the Finance Act 2022, digital payments are exempted from VAT.

Minister of Communication Technologies Nizar Ben Neji noted that the mobile payment is both an advantage and a major challenge that must be met, citing as examples the lack of digital literacy, the cost of devices, terminals and Internet access.

He said 6 million people do not have smart devices.

He also pointed to the reluctance of the use of digital services including transactions, calling for the establishment of trust and the development of Cyber-Vigilance.

He said in this context that his department will play the role of facilitator and will provide expertise to different actors and operators in the context of the mobile payment project.

Director General of the SMT Bilel Darnaoui recalled that the solution, which represents a major asset in the strategy of financial inclusion and decashing, is 100% Tunisian.

The official SAID this solution, which embodies the contribution of the banking sector and microfinance institutions to the efforts of public authorities, will reduce transaction costs.

According to the BCT, the main advantages of the use of the wallet are: the ease of access and use, the availability of the service 24/24 and 7 / 7 days, the instantaneity of the movement of funds, the transparency of the data and the relatively reduced pricing.

The wallet can be funded by a deposit from the banking institution, a transfer received from another wallet or a transfer received from an account and by bank or postcard. The transactions via the wallet will be subject to ceilings set by the issuing financial institution (of the wallet).

An agreement between the Société Monétique Tunisie (SMT) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was signed on this occasion, under which the IFC will provide technical support to the major projects on which SMT is currently working.

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