Subject: Contactless Payments

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Contactless Payments
Sharkawy & Sarhan, Client Alert
Issue 120, 28 September 2021
The Central Bank Of Egypt (the “CBE”) announced on Sunday that it will be granting licenses allowing the acceptance of contactless payments via mobile devices. This is in line with Egypt’s national strategy to transition from cash to electronic payments, the CBE revelation is a revolutionary step towards financial inclusion and making card acceptance solutions widely available. This form of Mobile Point Of Sale (“MPOS”) acts as a traditional POS in a more cost efficient smart way, allowing merchants to accept payments made by credit/debit/prepaid-cards via an application installed on their mobile phones. MPOS would be a reliable choice for small and micro business owners such as small groceries, home and repair services, etc. to accept contactless payments on the go.

Globally, MPOS systems may be operated via MPOS service providers (i.e. payment service providers) who may also act as payment facilitators for the merchant.

We are yet to have more visibility on the regulatory framework for such CBE MPOS license.

The CBE may still adopt the same approach of addressing the regulations to licensed banks in Egypt by only allowing payment service providers to partner with the licensed bank for providing a limited scope of services, or by directly granting payment service providers such license.

On a more general note, Egypt is now considered a growing attraction for big fintech market players. The legal environment for fintech is still being shaped. Although the grace period for complying with the New Banking Law (194/2020) ended on 15 September 2021, the CBE is yet to issue a licensing/regulatory framework for payment service providers offering their services in Egypt.

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