Central regions | Technology & innovation | Finance, business

Russian software developer ready to introduce Palestine to electronic money

27 Aug '13
BPC Banking Technologies, a software-developing multinational headquartered in Russia, has been contracted to help the Palestinian administration deliver on its ambitious plan for the creation of a national payment system and the eventual adoption of a national currency.

Last month, the Russian company won a tender organized by the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), the most likely prototype of the future Central Bank of Palestine, East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, reported yesterday. The tender was announced back in March 2013 in an effort to dramatically improve Palestine’s retail payments infrastructure.

What has been christened as Palestine’s National Switch project, an unprecedented cooperative effort involving the PMA, local banks, and international experts, calls for the adoption of BPC’s proprietary SmartVista software solution. The Palestinian Authority hopes that this will ensure “safe, efficient and swift automatic settlements of funds between banks” and bolster a decisive move away from cash, checks, and other risky paper-based instruments towards e-money.

This solution is expected to come into effect following the linking of the 15 Palestinian financial institutions participating in the project via the prospective real-time BURAQ Gross Settlement System, which will be powered by BPC technology.

After an integrated ATM network is established, enabling customers to use any machine irrespective of the location of their bank account, the PMA plans to implement phase two of its Switch. In this phase, the Russian software will enable the “domestic routing and settlement of the point-of-sale (POS) transactions performed by using the debit cards issued in any bank in Palestine.”

A long term objective of the Switch is an increase in “financial inclusion” in Palestine. The project aims to lend a helping hand to “all segments of society” by improving access to banking services, “especially in remote and rural areas where Palestinian banks’ branches are unavailable.”

Dr. Jihad Al Wazir, the PMA governor, believes “the project will reflect positively on the national economy [which still uses the Israeli shekels and the US dollars for settlements], 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.”
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