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Monday, 8 November 2021

CBE issues framework for instant digital payments

The Central Bank of Egypt has released the regulations (pdf) for its instant payment network (IPN), part of its strategy to improve access to financial services and bring more people into the formal economy. The regulations lay out the rules and responsibilities for issuing banks, payment service providers and acquiring banks, including licensing, risk management, data protection, and security.

What’s an IPN? It’s the network that links different banks and financial services providers, allowing payments sent between accounts at different banks to be credited and debited instantly.

The regulations include new transfer limits: Account holders will only be permitted to transfer EGP 60k per day and EGP 200k per month via the IPN, while the maximum for a single transfer is EGP 50k.

Banks must get a license from the central bank before they can access the network: After getting approval, they are required to finish testing their IPN portals within six months and activate their transfer services for the IPN using internet banking and mobile banking services within a year.

This is the latest step taken by the central bank to increase financial inclusion and reduce the usage of cash in the economy. Last year’s Banking Act has handed the CBE more regulatory oversight of the sector, including over e-payments and fintech. Since then, the central bank has introduced new interoperability rules to simplify transfers between different banks and mobile wallet providers, opened up savings and loan services to mobile wallet users, and is moving towards issuing licenses for mobile contactless payments.

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