Meeza is a financial inclusion initiative from the Egyptian government to aid the push towards cashless payments. Meeza, which is designed to be an Egyptian National Payment Scheme, was developed by Egyptian Banks Company (EBC) under the supervision of The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
A significant increase has been witnessed in recent years in the use of gift cards as large retail groups have been gaining popularity in the marketplace. There has particularly been a rise in the use of specialised mall gift cards, issued with a prepaid amount allowing the beneficiary to make purchases within any store or establishment in the mall in question.
Private companies in Egypt are increasingly issuing open loop pre-paid cards to employees, as this provides a more efficient and secure way of disbursing monthly salaries. Banks are responding to this trend by developing open loop pre-paid cards specifically for businesses.
Visa remained the dominant open loop pre-paid card operator in Egypt in 2018, with Mastercard the only other operator present. Visa holds a very high share in terms of card circulation numbers and value transactions due to the strength of its relationship with National Bank of Egypt in the area of salary payroll cards, including the government payroll system, which boasts the largest number of employees in the country.
As the state-owned banks National Bank of Egypt and Bank Misr initiated the trend of disbursing salaries via payroll cards in Egypt, this helps them remain the top two issuers in pre-paid cards. They have the largest pre-paid card portfolios in the country, with both primarily focusing on open loop products.
Non-banking players in Egypt are showing growing interest in prepaid cards. In particular, retailers are increasingly issuing closed loop pre-paid cards that can be used across wide merchant networks.
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