Cash transactions cost the state about 1.5 percent of GNP, including the cost of printing money and securing the transfer of funds, said Ashraf Moussa Sabry, the CEO of a large electronic payment services company.
Limiting the amount of cash transctions benefits major institutions, the government, and the banking system, Sabry added.
He pointed out that 95 percent of the debit cards, the amount of which ranges between 14 and 15 million in Egypt, are used for withdrawals and not for electronic payments.
About 2.1 million debit cards from different banks have been issued to disburse government salaries electronically from ATMs, and only 650,000 of them have been activated, he said.
There are around 7,000 ATMs nationwide, Sabry said, pointing out to the need to increase their number to cover remote areas, rather than concentrating their distribution in the capital and major cities.
Debit cards that have been issued for the purpose of paying salaries electronically are virtual bank accounts, he explained, pointing out that there is still a conflict betwee the government and the bank with regard to bearing the cost of issuing the cards.
Each debit card costs LE8 and lasts for 3 years, while the cost of an ATM is between LE20,000 and LE30,000, possibly reaching even LE100,000.
The low number of ATMs does not allow for the electronic disbursement of salaries for all the state institutions, according to Sabry.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm