PMA Launches First Phase of National ATM/POS Switch System

RAMALLAH, May 18, 2015 (WAFA) – Governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) Jihad Al-Wazir announced on Sunday the launching of the first phase of the ATM/POS National Switch.

Bank of Palestine, Bank of Jordan, and Cairo Amman Bank were connected through the PMA National Switch at this stage. The customers of these banks will be able to use the ATM machines of the mentioned banks with affordable transaction fees, said the PMA in a press release.

Alwazir said that the National Switch is considered a cornerstone for the Electronic Retail Payments in Palestine. The implementation of the National Switch is part of PMA’s strategy in electronic retail payments and the reduction of the use of cash and cheques in order to minimize the risk of the use of cash and other paper based payment instruments.

He emphasized that launching this system will encourage the banks to issue more debit and prepaid cards, and will also encourage the distribution of the point of sale machines.

Meanwhile, the PMA said it will also clear and settle the transactions on the systems hosted in the PMA using the PMA RTGS system (Buraq).

PMA is also planning to continue working with the remaining banks to mandatory connect the national switch by the end of the third quarter of 2015, and also the inclusion of new payment services, it said.

The implementation of the switch will increase access to banking services, especially in rural areas which will improve banking services and comply with PMA’s financial inclusion strategy.

Last week, the PMA created the PMA LMK (Local Master Key) on HSM (Hardware Security Modules) for the national switch. It also used this key to generate the related encryption keys for the member banks. PMA said it created the LMK according to the international best practices for creating such keys in an official ceremony attended by internal and external witnesses from public and private sectors. The witnesses also included representatives from PMA management, BPC Banking Technologies, and internal and external auditors.