Building on a new mobile payment gateway that MasterCard developed for Egypt, an Egyptian bank last week launched the Phone Cash mobile wallet for consumers.

National Bank of Egypt, through Egyptian Banks Company, says it will offer Phone Cash to banked and unbanked customers across Egypt.

Phone Cash will enable users to send money, pay phone bills, load credit to prepaid phone services, make donations and reserve airline tickets through their mobile phones. Users will also have access to other services provided through bill payment aggregator Fawry, another partner in the launch.

The bank intends to expand the wallet services to include payments for goods and services at merchant locations throughout Egypt, as well as allowing consumers to complete e-commerce transactions globally, NBE states in a MasterCard press release.

NBE says it is the first bank in Egypt and throughout the Middle East to offer a mobile payment system that operates independently from any specific mobile network service provider.

“We are delighted to announce the launch of this wallet, which does not limit consumers to one mobile network or even a specific type of handset,” Sherif Elwy, vice chairman of NBE, says in the release.

“This product opens doors for all consumers in Egypt to have access to financial services, regardless of whether or not they have a bank account,” Elwy adds.

Consumers can download the Phone Cash application on any mobile handset as an e-wallet, and then add money to it at any Fawry outlet. NBE customers can also link their MasterCard payment cards to the application to enable money transfers from their bank accounts to recharge the balance of their e-wallets.

The Fawry payment service, which allows consumers to receive and pay bills through a points system, is available on all banking channels, including ATMs, throughout Egypt.

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