The Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL) is seeking to encourage financial inclusion once again in order to reduce the cash economy in the Lebanese market, which is contrary to international anti-money laundering standards.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL) said it had worked with international issuers and managers of electronic payment cards, notably Mastercard and Visa, as well as with banks and financial institutions, to reduce fees for the use of electronic payment cards, especially those issued abroad and used in the local market.

In the same context, the central bank called on all merchants to refrain from imposing additional charges on users of electronic payment cards, as this is contrary to the law and detrimental to the national economy.


According to the press release, the BDL is working with the Ministry of Finance on a project that would enable taxpayers to use the electronic payment card as a means of paying their taxes at the Ministry’s cash desks throughout the country, as soon as the POS machines are installed.

Several months ago, the BDL issued circular 165 concerning the creation of a clearing house at the central bank for check and fund transfers in fresh US dollars and Lebanese pounds. “As a result, the use of wire transfers and fresh checks has begun to increase, and fresh checks have become a safe and alternative means of payment to cash,” reads the statement.

Along those same efforts to reduce the cash economy, BDL also recalled that it has granted operating licenses for electronic wallets (e-wallets) to enable their users to transfer money securely and immediately in accordance with the laws in force.

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