Dr. Jihad Al Wazir Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority and Mr. Angelo Bertini Managing Director, Middle East & North Africa BPC Banking Technologies (Global leader in electronic payment systems) signed an agreement for the implementation of the National Switch electronic payment system.
This system is considered an extremely vital instrument for the development of retail payments, one of the essential pillars adopted by the PMA as it began to prepare for its plan to modernize and develop the national payments system in Palestine.
Dr. Jihad Al Wazir, has expressed his support for initiating this project as he believes that since the enactment of the National Payments Law on 23/11/2012, the successful launch of such a project would be in line with the PMA's strategic plan towards becoming a central bank with full capacity. This includes the transition to using the latest electronic payment systems as an alternative for traditional payment instruments, such as cash, checks and paper based payment methods, so as to reduce the risks and negative effects resulting from the application of these instruments. Launching of this project comes in light of the evolution in technology and electronic communication channels which the world has witnessed during the past years.
Dr. Al Wazir added that, the project will reflect positively on the national economy, as it will inevitably achieve the PMA's efforts to shift from a society reliant on cash money to one which utilizes modernized non-cash payment instruments in its daily transactions in order to expand the use of the latest electronic payment methods. This will facilitate the harmonization of the Retail Payment infrastructure in the Palestinian market and limits the use of checks as the key payment instrument, for what it bears in risk and hindrances. The most important of which, is the increase in the size of the floating money and its resulting negative effects in slowing down the movement of cash within the economy.
On his part, Mr. Anatoly Loginov, Chairman, BPC Group said "We are delighted to be able to help the Palestine Monetary Authority in their mission to build a modern, efficient and transparent financial system. With our flagship payments solution SmartVista, we have helped more than 105 institutions in 35 countries transform their payments infrastructures. By delivering innovative, robust, and secure payment products and services; we know that the Palestine Monetary Authority will help transform their customers' lives."
The PMA, in cooperation with banks operating in Palestine and the help of international experts, has recently embarked on the implementation of an action plan designed to bring about a radical development in the banking sector in line with the best international standards. This is to ensure the safe, efficient and swift automatic settlements and transfer of funds between banks, in addition to the settlement of clearing results for debit cards point of sale (POS) orders, through linking the switch with the Real-Time Gross Settlement System (BURAQ).
The project also aims to increase Financial Inclusion in Palestine, enabling all segments of society from accessing banking services, especially in remote and rural areas where Palestinian banks' branches are unavailable. Citizens are able to access the nearest bank branch operating in their area without the need to travel to major city centers in order carry out banking operation; saving effort, costs and travel hardships, especially at times of siege and blockade of major cities.
The project is implemented on several phases. The first of which, is linking all ATM machines through an integrated network whereby all specifications are standardized, enabling citizens to use ATM cards and/or debit cards issued by their bank to access ATM services from any machine belonging to any other bank, regardless of the card's originating bank. The second is enabling the domestic routing and settlement of the point of sale (POS) transactions performed by using the debit cards issued in any bank in Palestine.
BPC Banking Technologies has been contracted post receiving the first ranking among the companies applied the tender and satisfying all conditions set by the PMA.
The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) is the emerging Central Bank of Palestine. Its overall purpose is to ensure price stability and contribute to the stability and effectiveness of the Palestinian financial system. PMA promotes sustained economic and financial growth of the Palestinian economy through the following:
- Effective and transparent regulation and supervision of Banks, Special Lending Institutions and Money Changers.
- Overseeing the implementation and operation of modern, efficient payment system.
- Development and employment of Monetary Policy designed to achieve price stability;
The PMA was initially established in 1994 by presidential decree as an independent institution and reinforced by the PMA law no. 2 of 1997 which outlined the full authority and autonomy of the PMA.
About BPC Banking Technology
BPC Banking Technologies was established to take advantage of the dramatic improvements in technologies - software and hardware - and to leverage those advantages to help companies involved in payments thrive in the face of an ever changing industry. BPC is an international company based in Swiss and it covers five continents, and their experience is delivered to over 110 million customers every day.
BPC group help their customers transform their payments businesses - dramatically lowering their total cost of ownership (TCO), radically improving their time to market with innovative products, and delivering a secure, scalable and highly available payments infrastructure to underpin their business.