Over a dozen private companies applied for licenses to operate digital financial services, including mobile money, from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). Two companies are applying for a digital financial service provider license, while the rest, including ArifPay Financial Technologies, are looking to get payment system operator service licenses. The companies applied for the licenses following the central bank's issuance of directives in 2020, allowing private companies to make applications or systems that process payments digitally. A company with a digital finance service license cannot provide anything other than mobile money services. On the other hand, share companies that are granted the payment system operator service license will be able to engage in services such as payment processing, personalisation of payment cards, point of sale machine deployment, payment aggregation and payment applications. An individual or company who wishes to be licensed as a payment system operator needs to apply as a national switch operator, a switch operator, an automated teller machine (ATM) operator or as a point of the sale machine operator.
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