Tunisia: Digital Payment Demand Grows as Financial Inclusion Lags

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Economic, Social, Tunisia


Data released by the Central Bank of Tunisia (BCT) for 2022 shows a significant increase in the use of digital payments pointing to a growing demand for economic modernization. The BCT data indicated a 26% percent increase in the number of transactions from 9.9 million in 2021 to 12.5 million in 2022. And a 44% increase in value transferred through digital payments, with 831.3 million dinars spent in 2022 against 576.9 million in 2021. The data also noted a 10 percent increase in the number of merchants offering digital payment options on their websites.

Despite growing consumer interest, findings from 2022 from the Observatory of Financial Inclusion indicate that as many as two thirds of Tunisians are unbanked or underserved by the traditional Tunisian banking sector. For many Tunisians, access to a bank account and a debit or credit card that would facilitate digital payments is viewed as unnecessary due to fees and the cumbersome administrative process of banking. Much of the economy remains in the informal sector, including black and gray markets that operate only in cash.


Tunisian consumers continue to demonstrate a growing interest in modernized digital services and payment options even as the financial system and administrative infrastructure lag behind. Merchants that can operate creatively within the space and move toward inclusion of the unbanked have significant potential upside in the market. Connectivity and ease of payment could help connect Tunisia’s skilled labor market with customers they cannot currently service.


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