Member News: Ashraf Sabry, CEO, Fawry, on creating a cashless society
To what extent have efforts to increase cashless transactions in Egypt been successful?
ASHRAF SABRY: The measures have so far been successful, but it still takes time to become a completely cashless society. The country has advanced a lot in expanding what we call “silent business”, the ratio of people carrying cards in their wallets. But this is not enough. You can only become a truly cashless society if cards are being used for everyday business.
The practical reality is different and there is a huge gap from that perspective. The number of cards may have increased – by now we probably have a total of 15m-20m debit cards and prepaid cards – but people mainly use those cards to get cash from the ATMs. This is still part of the old economic model. Additionally, the availability of facilities to take card payments and the willingness to accept them is not really maturing. This requires more innovation and better commercial business models.
We need different approaches to encourage people to accept the use of electronic money to do business. They have to start thinking about what the easiest ways to spend money are. Right now this is a challenge. It is simply not happening yet and a working commercial business model has not been achieved.