Eurasian Bank partners with Mastercard to launch the first Digital Tenge CardNovember 15, 2023 | Almaty
- On the 30th anniversary of the Tenge, Kazakhstan’s national currency, the first Digital Tenge Card transaction was made on a POS terminal that supports direct transactions between accounts in the national digital currency.
- The payment card is issued by Eurasian Bank and powered by the Mastercard network.
- It is the first Central Bank Digital Currency card in the Eurasian region.
At the XI Congress of Financiers of Kazakhstan, a new central bank digital currency (CBDC)-linked debit card – the Digital Tenge Card – was presented. As a part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the national currency, the first payment transaction was made at the Congress of Financiers of Kazakhstan. Issued by the Eurasian Bank and powered by the Mastercard network, the Digital Tenge Card instantly converts funds to traditional Tenge currency and is available to make purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted in Kazakhstan and around the world.
The testing and introduction of a new form of national currency in Kazakhstan has been led by JSC National Payments Corporation of Kazakhstan, which ensures interbank payments, transfers, clearing and the activities of the national payment system in Kazakhstan. It also leads on the development, research, prototyping and implementation of pilot projects in the field of financial and payment technologies. The Digital Tenge combines the advantages of cash and electronic money, unlocking opportunities for payments for unbanked and underbanked people and businesses in Kazakhstan. It also represents the third form of the national currency of Kazakhstan after cash and cashless funds, which will be issued by the National Bank. The three-stage introduction is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.
“Digital Tenge unlocks the potential of blockchain technology to create innovative financial services, ensures targeted and efficient government spending, and also builds a ‘bridge’ between traditional finance and the world of digital assets," noted Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan. "Today’s launch gave a start to the development of the Digital Tenge ecosystem and in the near future, Kazakhstanis will be able to use the first products based on it."
Eurasian Bank, which has been actively cooperating with the NBRK in this area for several years, is participating in the implementation of the Digital Tenge project as an anchor partner. Expanding on a 2022 pilot testing Digital Tenge scenarios, Eurasian Bank continues to work closely with NBRK to explore several use cases – from wallet openings to QR transfers and loyalty program tokenization. Eurasian Bank’s deep expertise will help offer cardholders the advantages of a traditional debit card and bringing the technology to the mainstream.
“Participation in the ‘Digital Tenge’ project opens up opportunities for launching innovative products for consumers and businesses using blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, developing a regulatory framework for digital assets and, in general, this is a big step in the development of a new digital economy in the country," noted Lyazzat Satiyeva, CEO of the Eurasian Bank. "It is symbolic that we are presenting a payment card in digital tenge to Kazakhstanis on the days when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the national currency. We are confident that this card will become another sought-after and popular product among our customers."
Mastercard continues to harness the opportunities of the blockchain and digital assets ecosystem – including its work with governments and leading blockchain technology and payment service providers to explore, test and deploy real-life use cases for CBDCs. This includes the participation in several global pilots in addition to the launch of its CBDC Partner Program. The Digital Tenge Card will leverage Mastercard's secure, scalable and reliable payments technology to make it easier for people to make purchases with Digital Tenge in everyday transactions in Kazakhstan and at more than 100 million acceptance points worldwide.
The Digital Tenge CBDC Card offers a number of important advantages for both cardholders and merchants. For example, the cardholder gets a choice: The card complements the CBDC wallet, providing another payment method and maximum flexibility. Cardholders can safely spend Digital Tenge in person at retail outlets, online stores and on various websites. The card can be stored in the consumer's phone, watch or physical wallet. For merchants, the advantages of the card include even greater choice of payment methods to be accepted with no infrastructure upgrades required, such as no need to install additional equipment or update software. An important factor is security - cardholders are provided with Mastercard’s leading technology and benefits that protect cardholders and merchants from fraud and guarantee the security and benefits of the international payment system.
“Kazakhstan strives to become the leader in Central Asia in digitization of all spheres of life, including the development of the digital economy and fintech," said Rafal Trepka, General Manager, Central Asia at Mastercard. "We see how far the state has come in the 30 years since it introduced its national currency. Today, thanks to the synergy of the country’s government, global players and private businesses, we are making a product that is safe, simple and secure available to even larger number of Kazakhstanis, giving them greater choice in how they make transactions. The Digital Tenge Card expands the choice of ways to receive funds and make payments while keeping in place all the benefits and privileges that Mastercard provides. We are pleased to partner with the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the National Payment Corporation and the Eurasian Bank on this initiative, because we believe that the Digital Tenge is another important step towards a more digital economy."
The Digital Tenge Card is the first CBDC card in Eurasian region and, looking ahead, opens up new opportunities for providing innovative financial services based on the Digital Tenge.
National Payment Corporation of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Joint Stock Company "National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan" (NPCK, Corporations) ensures interbank payments, transfers, clearing and the operation of the national payment system in Kazakhstan, as well as the creation and development of research expertise, prototyping and implementation of pilot projects in the field of financial and payment technologies, including in collaboration with leading international research centers - npck.kz.
Eurasian Bank is a socially significant financial institution in Kazakhstan, sixth in terms of assets among Kazakh banks as of September 1, 2023. The absolute leader in car lending, one of the top 3 banks in commodity lending, occupies a leading position in retail, and provides a wide range of services to corporate clients and entrepreneurs. The bank's rating forecast on the Moody's scale – was upgraded on 1 November 2023 with a positive outlook. The bank belongs to the ecosystem of the ERG group (one of the largest companies in the world in the field of mining and processing of mineral resources).
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.