Palestinian central bank adopts new electronic payment technology

Ramallah, Palestine is home to the Palestinian Monetary Authority.
Ramallah, Palestine is home to the Palestinian Monetary Authority.
The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), Palestine’s burgeoning central bank, recently adopted BPC Banking Technologies’ SmartVista—a comprehensive system to cover all aspects of electronic payment processing.

The PMA’s version of the technology suite is called The National Switch, which will now be the cornerstone of electronic retail payments in Palestine.

The National Switch is part of PMA's strategy to increase electronic retail payments, and reduce the use of cash and checks. The new technology enables citizens to use ATM cards issued by any bank to access services at ATMs belonging to any bank in the territory with affordable transaction fees.

The collaboration between BPC and the PMA took only 18 months from concept to launch,  good timing considering the whole national system was built from scratch. The switch has allowed PMA to be licensed for direct operation with international payment systems such as MasterCard and Visa

The launch of this system is also intended to encourage banks to issue more debit cards and install more ATMs throughout the Palestine territory. That strategy should stimulate financial inclusion for a greater number of Palestinians, many of whom are currently without access to the banking structure.

Jihad Al Wazir, PMA chairman, said the institution is glad to partner with BPC to implement the new system.

“The implementation of the switch will increase access to banking services, especially in rural areas, which will improve banking services and comply with PMA's financial inclusion strategy,” Al Wazir said

Such moves will benefit individual Palestinians who gain better access to banking and thereby strengthen the economy on the whole as Palestine seeks to gain statehood.