IRAQ’s Payment Landscape

The payment Industry in IRAQ has seen an increasing growth in the past few years, from the number of people opening bank account, eWallets to having many more banks opening branches, installing ATMs, shops having POS terminal to accept card payments or QR payments. Also, the number of financial service companies are on the rise.

There are several reasons for this evolution; firstly, the efforts of the Central Bank of IRAQ’s (CBI) in promoting and encouraging financial inclusion.

Secondly, the gradual change in the people’s mindset towards the banking and financial sector that has gained more trust than ever before. Currently the banking and financial industry, contribute an estimated 23% to Iraq’s GDP, while this may still be lower compared to the oil and gas sector with at least 60%, it is an optimistic development.

The growing banking sector has led to the availability of more than 1,650 ATMs, 55 banks, with 7 being state banks and 48 private of which 23 are commercial banks, 8 Islamic banks, and 17 foreign banks. In total, there they have 515 branches across the country with 4 having international branches too. This expansion has led to 1 million cardholders, with over 3.5 million people opening an eWallet account with a mobile money provider. The number of eWallets are increasing dramatically and this is due to its ease of availability and convenience. The mobile money providers in Iraq, such as NassWallet are providing innovative ways for people to be able to manage their finances from their mobile phones. For instance, you can open a NassWallet account within minutes, add money to it and start using it to send money to your friends and family wherever they are in Iraq, whether they have a NassWallet account or not. Purchase digital gift cards from over 80 international brands from Apples, amazon, PUBG to shopping online with Arbela Store from the US and UK. Or top up your mobile phone and recharge your internet from the comfort of your own home without the need to drive or walk to the nearest store. You can have your salary paid into your wallet to shop in store or online and pay your bills while keeping track of each spending right on your mobile phone. These are some of the digital banking services provided by NassWallet and the growing mobile money providers to ease people’s lives and expand financial inclusion.

The efforts of CBI and the government in general toward digitalizing the banking and financial sector is a promising ground for more companies to enter the market and compete for customers with added value services. We are already seeing the number of TPPs (Third-Party Processors) increasing to Five with many to be licensed soon.

Our country has a young population with over 20 million active internet users and owners of smart phones being majority between the age of 15 to 54 years old, which makes it ripe for more mobile wallet services and digital banking adoption.

This is our believe and our strategy as we move forward to a digital first future.

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