MasterCard allies with EMP to sponsor Egyptian card issuers
MasterCard has formed a deal with electronic payments processor Emerging Markets Payments to sponsor issuers in Egypt and other African markets, in a move intended to help small issuers reach the region’s unbanked population.
Through the deal, EMP will be able to assist smaller issuers to offer prepaid, credit and debit cards, as well as get access to ATMs and point of sale devices. The solution will draw on MasterCard consultancy, data analytics and insights services, as well as EMP’s outsourcing experience. The idea is to help consumers to gain greater control over their finances and build up a payment history, as well as to reach more of the population in Egypt and other nearby countries with basic banking services.
“MasterCard is committed to providing the Egyptian market with payment solutions that meet the needs and priorities of all parties in the payment cycle,” said Magdy Hassan, country manager, Egypt, MasterCard. “The new proposition aims to reduce the high cost of ownership of card programs and time to market. The low-cost cards portfolio can be obtained through the implementation of a standardised, repeatable 3-4 months rollout plan. Issuers can now reach out to new customer segments by offering prepaid cards to previously unbanked communities, thereby allowing more consumers to participate in the formal banking sector.”
With a population of 80 million, Egypt is by far the largest country in the region according to estimates provided by the World Bank. It has been estimated by Ernst & Young that up to 90% of Egyptians are unbanked, although no reliable estimates exist for 2013 and some consider these figures outdated. In all cases, being unbanked means less financial independence and more reliance on friends and family.
EMP is focused on payments processing in the Middle East and Africa. The company covers issuing, acquiring and switching as well as card procurement and personalisation. The firm currently partners with 130 banks in the region and has offices in Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria and South Africa.
“Becoming a principal member of MasterCard allows EMP to launch a unique service proposition that provides banks and smaller card issuing companies with a combined consultancy, technology and operations outsourcing solution,” added Paul Edwards, chairman of EMP. “The holistic approach aims to help startup, small-sized companies and banks benefit from economies of scale and gain exposure to international best practices and strategic insights about the payments industry.”