Russian retail banking software provider BPC Banking Technologies and a consortium of local banks plan to launch a national payment system.

Afghanistan Payments Systems, funded by Da Afghanistan Bank through the World Bank, is trying to bolster the retail banking market in Afghanistan through electronic and mobile payment services.

The payment system will rely on BPC’s SmartVista, a single processing platform to switch all transaction flows, ensure comprehensive card products issuance and acquiring, and to manage all ATMs and POS-terminal networks. SmartVista also provides the bank consortium with specific reporting facilities for payment clearing and reconciliation supervision.

“With cash being dominant in daily operations both by individuals and organizations in Afghanistan, lack of interoperable POS-terminals and ATM networks has resulted in limited cards usage," Angelo Bertini, managing director for BPC Banking Technologies, stated in a March 30 press release.

The state initiative connects all the banks in one payment network to bring transparency to the financial markets and raise confidence in payment services among citizens, Bertini said.

With four banks already integrated, the new payments network allows the rest of the market to lower operation costs through a new technology platform while also minimizing cash flow, and increasing transparency of all operations, security and availability of payments, BPC said in the release.

In the future, SmartVista will provide the scalability and flexibility for further switching of all utilities payments, e-wallets and mobile payments such as bill payment, e-top up and person-to-person transfers, the company said.

"We view our partnership with BPC as a strategic step towards offering the Afghan market cutting-edge payment processing solutions,” Zaheer Bawar, managing director of Afghanistan Payments System, said in the release. “We believe the platform provided by BPC enables us to go to market faster and will also provide the financial industry in Afghanistan with access to high-quality services and state-of-the-art solutions.”

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