Egypt residents can now make instant electronic payments between bank accounts using their mobile phones, thanks to newly approved regulations by Egypt’s central bank, according to a statement Monday (Nov. 8).
The statement also announced a new network that will launch by the end of the year, allowing bank customers to manage their bank accounts and finalize transfers with any bank through one app.
“Customers will be able, through the new network, to complete transfers within a few seconds, on weekdays and during official holidays using various electronic payment tools issued by Egyptian banks,” central bank deputy governor Rami Aboul Naga said in the statement, according to a Reuters report.
The regulations are part of a series of reforms across Egypt in the last two years focused on transforming the way those in the country who don’t have ties to a specific bank conduct their day-to-day business. The changes will also open up money transfers with an instant payment network or phone number.
In September, Egypt’s central bank approved licenses that will let merchants accept contactless payments from mobile phones, but the bank didn’t say how soon the new system will go into effect or which businesses would be eligible for the licenses.
Last July, Egypt passed its Data Protection Law to create new guidelines for how businesses across the country can process and store customer data digitally. It’s designed to spark the growth of online banking in the market.
The law is inspired in part by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, since it imposes penalties on companies that don’t stick to these online privacy rules. Egyptian law is focused on digital and electronic data storage, compared to the EU rule, which takes a broader approach to the storage of all consumer info.
Egypt also passed a law that allows the central bank to give banking licenses to FinTech companies. Another piece of proposed legislation through Egypt’s central bank is focused on non-banking FinTech, such as nano-finance, consumer tech and insurance tech.