Payment processing service providers are the ones who are behind the seemingly simple swipe of your credit or debit card at stores, ensuring the smooth transfer of funds from and to all interested parties.

Back in August 15th of 2020, a directive that allowed FinTech companies to start offering payment processing and related services in Ethiopia (Licensing and Authorization of Payment System Operators Directive-ONPS/02/2020) was published to the delight of both business owners and consumers alike. It was a historical occurrence that opened up new opportunities in the financial sector of the country. Consequently, five licenses are included in the payment system operator directive, namely National Switch, Switch Operator, ATM Operator, POS Operator, and payment gateway license.

The recently published guideline offers complete instructions for the licensing process for those interested in engaging in this trade. There are five phases in total for this procedure:

Phase 1: Submission of Application: Specifies who to address the application to and the document required.

Phase 2: Business Plan and Opening of Blocked Account (s): Lays down details of a business plan, proposed system rule and blocked account opening request.

Phase 3: Company Formation: Lists the documents to be submitted after approval of the previous steps and fulfillment of required capital. Also included is a request of approval from the National Bank’s Board of Directors Chief Executive Officer.   

Phase 4: Authorization and Licensing: States the steps to take if application for a license is accepted and reapplication if rejected.

Phase 5: Commercialization of the Services: Identifies the document to be submitted during the pilot period (2 months) after approval, and upon successful completion during said period, states that the National Bank of Ethiopia will grant a letter of commercialization to the operator.

The full document can be downloaded from the National Bank’s official website with the link:


The opinions expresses here in the post "The National Bank of Ethiopia Releases the Guideline on the Licensing Process for Payment Processing Operators" are those of the individua's contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Business Info Ethiopia , BIE Intelligence PLC, its publisher, editor, or any of its other contributors.


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