Eurasian Bank, Mastercard to Launch CBDC Linked Digital Tenge Debit Card

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.”

Binur Zhalenov, Chairman of the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan, said:

“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.”

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.”

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.”

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