Timor-Leste inaugurates electronic interbank system

Timor-Leste’s (East Timor’s) first electronic interbank system recently started linking the current infrastructure of the five commercial banks operating in the country to a network set up by Portuguese company SIBS, the country’s Central Bank said.

The network will allow holders of debit cards issued by banks in Timor (or of VISA cards issued by foreign banks) to use ATMs or points of sale devices in Timor-Leste for cash withdrawals or to pay for goods and services, as well as credit cards as soon as they are issued by local banks.

SIBS, which manages the Multibanco network in Portugal, was awarded the international tender for the project, which will significantly expand the services available to clients of banks currently operating in Timor-Leste, Portugal’s BNU, Australia’s ANZ, Indonesia’s Mandiri and BRI and Timorese bank BNCTL.

The interbank network will also be integrated into the three mobile communications networks, so as to enable a range of payment services via smartphones, including phone top ups, checking transactions and the possibility of making payments, using the telephone, to people and businesses.

In the long term, said the Central Bank of Timor-Leste, applications will be developed that will allow the payment of taxes, fees, customs duties, “to allow citizens to meet their tax obligations, as well as other fees and charges, without needing to go to the bank.” (macauhub)