The trend in payments around the world is constantly moving towards the disappearance of money. In some countries, like Finland, cash payment is only 1% of all transactions! Morocco, as our readers know, is lagging behind at this level, and it is estimated that every year, cash transactions around the country represent an equivalent of 1200 billion dirhams. In addition, credit cards (82%) and checks (76%) are used only to withdraw money.
However, without cash, huge opportunities would be offered, especially for the furthest populations (security issues, availability, travel, etc.). For example, as part of the national financial inclusion strategy, mobile payment is a very important lever that requires an attractive value.
Total interoperability, the world's first
Although several banks and payment institutions have already launched their payment solution for mobile devices, the key element of the Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) request was still not available to make the technology sincerely distributed. Indeed, and this is the first world, the central bank has demanded that all these solutions be interoperable, that is, they are all compatible with each other. After several months of testing, this has been done. Thus, the BAM and the National Agency for the Regulation of Telecommunications (ANRT) held a press conference in Rabat on Tuesday to officially announce the launch of this new mobile payment method in Morocco, called the "m-wallet". It enables electronic and dematerialized transactions of merchant payment transactions, transfer of money from person to person, as well as withdrawal and cash deposit.
"Domestic mobile payment is a new project that will develop at the national level and an instrument that will allow certain daily jobs of the citizens of Morocco," said BAM Executive Director Abderrahim Bouazz. "A mobile phone holder who already has an account in a bank or with a payment institution can transfer money to the user and can pay for buying from a trader using a m-wallet that is on his mobile phone earlier," said Bouazza, stressing that "therefore, that the account holder on the phone specifies the phone number of the user so that the operation is immediately, in real time and electronic. "
According to BAM Executive Director, it is enough to finish the correspondence table between phone numbers and m-wallets, so the ecosystem can start with institutions using this new instrument. By the end of the month, there will be about ten solutions.
For its part, ANRT general manager Azelarab Hassibi explained that mobile payment users are all connected during the design of this system, especially retailers, and that is through a dozen focus groups they discussed about the insinuation and the outbreak of this payment solution over the last two years.
Security and availability
According to Executive Director Hightech Paiment Sistems (HPS) Mohamed Horani, the system that uses the "m-wallet" is secure and revised by numerous international organizations and certified in accordance with international security requirements, as well as in the field of personal data protection. In addition, the system is surplus, in order to ensure availability greater than 99%, and is effective in case of volume increase. Mr. Horani also reminded that the approval process, which requires testing, is open to potential new players and will be open.
In order to reduce the weight of investment, "we capitalized on the existing electronic banking infrastructure," says Hasssibi, but also "the exceptional mobile coverage we have in Morocco." To ensure that the system functions smoothly over time, "we have a strategic board that gathers all ecosystem players," he adds.
A charming operation at the national level
In order for mobile payments to be successful in Morocco, they must be widely accepted by customers on the one hand, but especially from retailers who will have to establish professional accounts. And we know that many small traders have the advantage of cash, especially for tax purposes.
Aware of the obstacle this presents, Mr. Bouazza announces the launch of a "national communication and awareness strategy at the beginning of 2019, when the entire ecosystem is ready." In addition, several proposals for tax provisions have been transferred to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the BAM general manager hopes to appear as soon as the Law about finances 2019.
Other incentives are provided, such as free transactions (including small-scale transfers), and Mr Bouazza has entered the Ministry of Commerce and added that there are "measures to be taken to subsidize this new market."
According to Mr. Horani, traders will realize that refusing this new method of payment will risk losing ground to their competitors and "this will become a necessary business".
Within 5 years, Bank Al-Maghrib expects a market of 6 million users and 51,000 agents / traders, for 1.3 billion dinars of transactions. Achieving these goals is a major step forward for Morocco's digital development strategy.