Economy, Business And Markets

CBI in Talks With Overseas Payment Firms

CBI in Talks With Overseas Payment FirmsCBI in Talks With Overseas Payment Firms

The Central Bank of Iran is about to finalize its primary talks with foreign payment networks including European companies, according to Nasser Hakimi, head of Central Bank of Iran technology department.

“We have held talks with many networks, except for US-based companies like MasterCard or Visa,” he was quoted as saying by Bankdari-Ayandeh (Future Banking) magazine.

“Exchange rates, transaction fees and the cap on the number of transactions are among key concerns of the CBI during the talks.”

“We have several plans for connecting to the international payment systems, including launching a connection on the national scale, or by individual firms. But nothing has been finalized,” Hakimi said.

Joining international payment systems is not just an issue for the technology department; various departments should get involved in the process, he said. “Issues like unification of forex rates and anti-money laundering measures need to be tackled by the relevant departments. Unification of forex rates is one top priority.”  

Iran’s payment industry, with an impressive performance in recent years, is expected to pick up in the post-sanctions era. However, officials in the CBI and other organizations like Shaparak and Informatics Services Corporation have expressed concern over the future of domestically developed systems once international networks return.

Shaparak, the domestic payment and settlement network, hosted a total of 940 million successful transactions with a total worth of 994.2 trillion rials ($32.3 billion), during the month ending in May 20. Data  shows that the total number of transactions and their value grew by 19.3% and 21.6% respectively, compared with the same period last year.

The network also recorded about 115 million failed transactions during the said period. Users accounted for 87.4% the total failures, while banks 10% the failed transactions.

Shaprak’s latest numbers also indicate an annual growth of 18.27% in the number of POS terminals used in shops across the country. About 4.5 million POS terminals were active by May 20. The total number of mobile payment terminals dropped by 65.9% during the said period. Although the Central Bank of Iran has banned using mobile terminal since last September, there are still 714 active mobile terminals.

Online payment terminals accounted for 3.2% of the total transactions, 6.1% drop compared with the same period last year.

Parsian Electronic Commerce Company had the largest share of online transactions, accounting for 35% of the total, while Bank Mellat’s affiliate, Beh Pardakht Mellat, had the biggest share of transactions taking place through POS terminals, accounting for 28.1% of the total successful transactions.