First Data wins deal to manage Egyptian benefits card programme

Source: First Data

First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, has announced a new, three-year agreement with the Ministry of State for Administrative Development of the Republic of Egypt (MSAD), for the extension of the Egyptian government's family card project, which covers subsidised food and Social Solidarity pension services in nine governorates/provinces.

Under terms of the agreement, First Data will provide a fully managed service for the issuing and processing of more than 4.5 million multifunctional, reloadable smart cards. These cards are used by eligible families to claim subsidised food at grocery stores and Social Solidarity pensions at service centres throughout Egypt. The agreement marks the expansion of First Data's business into the emerging Egyptian payments market.

First Data will roll out cards during the next seven months, working with specialist local and government institutes including MASRIA CARD, the oldest and most advanced card manufacturer in Egypt, for cards production and personalisation, and the Aviation Information Technology Company (AVIT), a subsidiary of the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation, for the provision of hardware and networking infrastructure. AVIT will provide operation and data hosting services from its data centre to support the installation and maintenance of 11,000 new point-of-sale terminals at grocery stores throughout nine governorates in Egypt, serving 4.5 million families each month. Additionally, First Data will develop a network of service centres to support cardholders and grocery outlets. The payment card and processing technology used will also allow citizens to use the cards to claim a range of other government benefits such as health, transportation, gas and other subsidies, when these are launched.

"We selected First Data for its scale, payments expertise and ability to deliver a turnkey solution within the challenging timescales for this last and most important phase of our family card project," said Dr. Ahmed Samir Elrafie, head of Policies and Programmes Sector at the Ministry of State for Administrative Development. "With First Data's support, we will be able to provide citizens with reliable and convenient access to subsidised food and Social Solidarity pensions, with the scope to expand the project to include a range of other government benefits in the future."

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