Bee fo­cuses on fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion with bun­dle of ser­vices, deals

The Daily News Egypt - - Business / Technology - By Mo­hamed Alaa El-din

EBee for elec­tronic pay­ment so­lu­tions pre­pares to ex­pand new prod­ucts and ser­vices as well as in­crease the num­ber of its out­lets based on the in­vest­ment re­cently ob­tained by the com­pany for EGP 156m for an ac­qui­si­tion by MM Group over 60% of the com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to Mo­hamed Abo Khadra,head of mar­ket­ing in the com­pany, said dur­ing an in­ter­view with Daily News Egypt that the pay­ment mar­ket is wit­ness­ing sev­eral growth op­por­tu­ni­ties, sup­ported by Egypt’s vi­sion for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in which elec­tronic pay­ment com­pa­nies are a cor­ner­stone.

Abo Khadra re­vealed that the com­pany is work­ing to pro­vide ser­vices of elec­tric­ity me­tre cards recharg­ing, in ad­di­tion to a con­tract with two com­pa­nies in the avi­a­tion sec­tor to pro­vide ser­vices of flight tick­ets pay­ment through Bee’s out­lets.

How do you see the changes that took place in the elec­tronic pay­ment mar­ket?

This mar­ket has changed greatly over the past pe­riod.The changes are di­vided into two groups, where one is pos­i­tive and the other neg­a­tive.

Pos­i­tive changes in­clude an in­creased awareness of elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vices. Con­sumers started us­ing th­ese ser­vices al­beit in a lim­ited way to pay the bills of ba­sic util­i­ties, such as elec­tric­ity, gas, and wa­ter.

All mer­chants and shop own­ers also have be­come fully aware of elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vices. Con­sumers, on the other hand, now have awareness of the ser­vices, their types, and the com­pa­nies that of­fer them.

The gov­ern­ment now has full awareness of the im­por­tance of elec­tronic pay­ments.About a year ago, Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah Al Sisi is­sued a de­ci­sion to es­tab­lish the Supreme Coun­cil for Elec­tronic Pay­ments.The de­ci­sion was pre­ceded by the col­lec­tion of taxes and cus­toms elec­tron­i­cally.Th­ese are all strong de­ci­sions taken by de­ci­sion­mak­ers in Egypt, and the proof is the launch­ing of the fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion week sev­eral days ago.

On the other hand, the Cen­tral Bank of Egypt (CBE) is ex­ert­ing great ef­forts. There is a spe­cial unit in the CBE that works on pre­par­ing a draft law to or­gan­ise the mar­ket of elec­tronic pay­ments. Meet­ings were held be­tween banks and all com­pa­nies that of­fer th­ese kinds of ser­vices in or­der to be ac­quainted with their re­quire­ments be­fore pre­par­ing the draft law.

The most re­cent pos­i­tive change is the ex­is­tence of many elec­tronic pay­ment com­pa­nies, which helped in­crease the awareness be­tween cus­tomers and lead to the spread of ser­vices and to the in­crease in the mar­ket’s vol­ume in terms of elec­tronic pay­ment op­er­a­tions and num­ber of con­sumers who use the ser­vices.

Re­gard­ing neg­a­tive changes, they in­clude the de­lay of banks play­ing their roles as one of the par­ties im­ple­ment­ing fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion plans in Egypt.Fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in Egypt is no more than 15%.The Prin­ci­pal Bank for Devel­op­ment and Agri­cul­ture Credit (PBDAC) con­trib­utes by 50% in the a loans agency for farm­ers and other ser­vices for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, whereas fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in some Gulf coun­tries reached 60%, such as the case in Saudi Ara­bia.

There are con­cerns from cus­tomers in terms of deal­ing with banks.A large seg­ment does not have con­fi­dence in banks and lit­tle knowl­edge about the fact that a mis­take made by the ATM can be fixed.This is neg­a­tive for the en­tire elec­tronic pay­ment sec­tor.

How can we over­come the neg­a­tive side you men­tioned?

All play­ers have to work on en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of ser­vices of­fered to the mar­ket and to work on an in­te­grated so­lu­tion. Pro­vid­ing banks with elec­tronic pay­ments is the only way to of­fer some­thing tan­gi­ble to cus­tomers.

It is in­con­ceiv­able that the CBE plays this role, be­cause it has more im­por­tant tasks in re­gard with the mon­e­tary pol­icy of Egypt.

From your point of view, what are the most prom­i­nent growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in the mar­ket?

The gov­ern­ment’s vi­sion of fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion will not be pos­si­ble with­out elec­tronic wal­lets, be­cause they rep­re­sent one of the most im­por­tant in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties. The CBE has launched an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign dur­ing last Ra­madan to pro­mote ewal­let ser­vices. The cam­paign tar­geted banks and elec­tronic pay­ment com­pa­nies to prompt them to par­tic­i­pate in pro­vid­ing e-wal­let ser­vices spon­sored by the CBE.

In co­op­er­a­tion with MasterCard, the CBE formed a uni­fied e-wal­let, and our com­pany is the only elec­tronic pay­ment com­pany that linked its ser­vices to the e-wal­let pro­vided by MasterCard. There­fore, any bank will­ing to of­fer e-wal­let ser­vices will use Bee’s ser­vices, such as bills pay­ment, univer­sity fees, and oth­ers.

There are three main axes of e-wal­let ser­vices’ growth. First, the in­crease of pay­ment ser­vice out­lets, which de­pends on the spread of elec­tronic pay­ment com­pa­nies. Sec­ond, the in­crease of e-wal­let ser­vices, which re­quires cre­at­ing more dis­tinc­tive ser­vice for cus­tomers to in­crease com­pet­i­tive­ness, and the next pe­riod will wit­ness the launch of new elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vices in many sec­tors,in­creas­ing the op­por­tu­nity of growth. Third, the in­crease of elec­tronic pay­ments’ vol­ume, which de­pends on the other axes.

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for e-pay­ments’ growth rates in the next year?

I ex­pect the elec­tronic pay­ment mar­ket will grow by 20-30% in the next year, es­pe­cially since this year wit­nessed the re­cov­ery of the lo­cal mar­ket from the ef­fects of float­ing the ex­change rate.

More­over, the CBE and elec­tronic pay­ment com­pa­nies’ ini­tia­tives will lead to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in this sec­tor.

How do you in­tend to use the re­cently ob­tained in­vest­ment?

BPE Part­ners (for­merly Bel­ton Pri­vate Eq­uity) an­nounced the ac­qui­si­tion of 60% of Bee jointly through its non-bank­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices ve­hi­cle, Ebtikar and MTI.

We will use this in­vest­ment to ex­pand our ser­vices through in­creas­ing the num­ber of out­lets and cre­at­ing new prod­ucts to cover new sec­tors.

What prod­ucts are now in the pipe­line?

If you are ask­ing about the Satel­lite So­lu­tions Tele­com (SST) in the Orabi Cen­tral Of­fice, this is a pi­lot project with “We”. Based on the re­sults, we will both agree on the ex­pan­sion plan, and we are proud to be part of the launch­ing of “We” and the trust they put in our so­lu­tions, from the launch­ing date with Bee SST ma­chines spread in all Or­ange-owned shops.

In 2017,we made a break­through in terms of new prod­ucts.We made our pay­ment ap­pli­ca­tion avail­able on PlayS­tore and iOS. We also al­lowed the pay­ment ser­vice for Visa and MasterCard hold­ers through the ap­pli­ca­tion, in which the cus­tomer recharge his ac­count and use the ap­pli­ca­tion to pay any bills or trans­fer credit to other mo­bile phones.

We also have a part­ner­ship deal with MasterCard to pro­vide our elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vices through MasterCard’s on­line wal­let.

Re­gard­ing com­mu­nity ser­vices, we of­fered elec­tronic dona­tions through Bee’s out­lets in favour of the Egyp­tian Food Bank, Misr El-Kheir Foun­da­tion, and the Dar Al Or­man Char­ity. The ser­vices in­cluded a sac­ri­fice voucher pro­gramme, Ra­madan bags and other ser­vices in the vol­un­tary sec­tor.

In ad­di­tion, Bee launch a new ser­vice of the elec­tronic col­lec­tion of elec­tric­ity bills in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany efi­nance to en­able cit­i­zens to pay their elec­tric­ity bills at the near­est out­let to smooth the pay­ment pro­cess.

We also launched elec­tronic pay­ment ser­vice for travel book­ing com­pa­nies, such as Trav­el­start Egypt and EgyptAir, and we have signed re­cently two more contracts with two air­lin­ers but they have not been of­fi­cially an­nounced.

The com­pany of­fered its ser­vices as well in the col­lec­tive trans­port sec­tor in which we con­tracted with Go and Back com­pany for smart col­lec­tive trans­port. Bee also con­tracted with Mubasher in the stock mar­ket to pay the value of reg­is­tra­tion through Bee out­lets.

We now aim to in­crease the num­ber of our out­lets,cur­rently at 35,000.


Mo­hamed Abo Khadra, head of mar­ket­ing in the com­pany

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