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Thursday, 14 April 2022

OPay lands CBE approval to issue pre-paid cards

CBE gives OPay greenlight to issue pre-paid cards: China-backed fintech player OPay has received preliminary approval from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to issue pre-paid cards in partnership with Masria Digital Payments (MDP), the company said in a press release (pdf). OPay expects to issue some 200k cards in the first phase of its rollout, the company’s director of business development and partnership for Egypt and North Africa, Mahmoud Khedr, told Enterprise recently.

OPay launched in Egypt last year and currently has tens of thousands of points of sale (POS) across the country, processing mns of transactions per month. It was backed by SoftBank’s Vision 2 fund in a USD 400 mn funding round that valued it at USD 2 bn.

OPay has big plans for Egypt: The fintech outfit plans to join the CBE’s new digital payment app, InstaPay, and is also in talks with an unnamed local bank for a new payment facilitator license. The company is also gearing up to launch a new service in Egypt in 3Q2022, which would be a “first for the MENA region.” This will come as part of its wider expansion in Egypt, which will include opening more branches and using the country as a “center” for its service operations in the MENA region.

EDITOR’S NOTE- This story was amended on 14 April, 2022, to reflect that OPay is China-backed. The story originally said the fintech player is based in Nigeria.

IN OTHER FINTECH NEWS-

NBE gets a PayFac license to partner with Geidea on e-payments: State-owned National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has received a payments facilitator license allowing it to partner with Saudi SME fintech player Geidea to launch digital payments services including contactless and QR-code enabled payments, according to a press release (pdf). Geidea has reportedly signed a similar agreement with Banque Misr, we noted previously.

What’s PayFac? Payment facilitators say they offer businesses an easier route to accepting card payments by including them under a “master merchant account” — saving them the time and effort of having to get approvals for an individual account. Payfacs help get merchants ready to process payments in hours — as opposed to days or weeks for the traditional route, which goes through banks directly on a 1:1 basis. Payfacs say this spares their clients from dealing with harder-to-navigate bank bureaucracies.

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