Russian Software Developer To Help Palestine Introduce Electronic Money

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BPC Banking Technologies will help Palestine as it attempts to rebuild its national currency

BPC Banking Technologies, a software development house 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 put forward by the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), the most likely prototype of the future Central Bank of Palestine. The tender was announced back in March 2013 in an effort to dramatically improve the country’s retail payments infrastructure.

New money

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, and towards e-money.

Reverse side of a vintage Palestine 100 mils coin, minted in 1935 when the British mandate ruled the land of IsraelThis solution is expected to be introduced 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 second phase 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.”

This article originally appeared on East-West Digital News.

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