Tunisia’s Postal Services Teams Up With Blockchain Startup for National Payment Platform
La Poste Tunisienne, the national postal services of Tunisia, has announced the launch of a pilot for a new payment infrastructure powered by the Monetas platform.
Monetas, a Swiss software company focusing on blockchain-based infrastructures, will provide la Poste Tunisienne with an enhanced version of the institution’s payment app.
The new digital payment infrastructure will enable e-Dinar users to make instant, secure peer-to-peer mobile transfers, pay online merchants, brick-and-mortar businesses, pay their utility bills, send remittances, as well as manage official government identification documents, Monetas said.
E-Dinar is a digital wallet service from la Poste Tunisienne launched in 2000 as part of the government’s e-Tijara initiative.
The wallet is linked to an online account that can be refilled with top up cards, via credit card, bank transfer, or in cash at post offices. Users of e-Dinar can pay for goods and services, as well as withdraw cash using its debit card, the e-Dinar Universel.
The new collaboration between Monetas, Tunisian technology startup DigitUs and Tunisia’s Post, is aimed at increasing financial inclusion in a country where more than 3 million citizens are still excluded from the financial system.
“La Poste is a very important and trusted institution and is at the heart of financial inclusion efforts in Tunisia,” Moez Chakchouk, CEO at la Poste Tunisienne said in a statement.
Transaction fees will be negligible and shouldn’t surpass one third of a dinar (~US$0.17). In most cases, the fees will be paid by merchants and free to consumers, Monetas said.
Chakchouk said that Tunisia’s Post was “on a transformation journey” to modernize its services with innovative technologies and “power the digital economy.”
With six million postal financial accounts in Tunisia, la Poste Tunisienne is the best-known and first cited financial institution, before commercial banks Banque Tunisienne de Solidarité or Enda. one of the largest microfinance institutions in Tunisia.
According Findex, 90% of Tunisians who have a bank account, are banked with la Poste Tunisienne.
Shaped after the French model, La Poste Tunisienne is a hybrid operator of a broad variety of services and a powerful instrument for financial inclusion, firstly because it offers simple and affordable products to the public; secondly because it has a widespread presence throughout the country with some 1,050 post offices.
The institution is widely known for intensively making use of information and communication technology with products such as e-Dinar, but also Fatoura Net, an electronic bill payment platform, and Mobi-Flouss, for electronic money transfers.
In 2010, the number of e-Dinar holders reached 710,000; withdrawal and payment transactions reached 4.5 million and the number of affiliated businesses was 257, according to an OECD e-Government Study.