The policy report on the use of e-wallets in Iran was published
News_Code: 355111 4/4/2021 9:22:53 AM
The policy report on the use of e-wallets in Iran was published
The policy report on e-wallets in Iran was published by the Monetary and Banking Research Institute of the Central Bank.

According to the Public Relations of the Monetary and Banking Research Institute, the executive summary of this policy report states: It is about a decade since the beginning of the activity of electronic wallets in Iran, to resolve the concern of providing small money, facilitating small payments for people and the central bank, and increasing social welfare. Problems with other payment instruments such as online bank payments, time-consuming and inconveniency, security challenges, high costs, and the lack of infrastructure to manage the high volume of transactions have led to the emergence of this new method to facilitate micropayments. The numerous benefits of the e-wallet and its role in speeding up the micro-payment process have prompted the Central Bank to consider the regulatory process at various stages to develop this tool. In the latest instruction, "Criteria of activity of credit institutions and e-wallet managers in the country's payment system" prepared by the Central Bank in the summer of 2020, an outstanding effort in explaining the criteria and requirements related to the process of issuing and managing e-wallet in the country's monetary and banking field has taken place. The use of an e-wallet as one of the micropayment tools and the development of its functions requires compatibility with the country's legal structure.

The wallet interactions are based on the relationship between executives, customers, the operating credit institution, and the payment service providers as the main pillars of this tool. Since these interactions have legal effects, defining them in the form of one definite or indefinite contract is necessary. In fact, according to the country's legal structure, the economic relations of individuals and legal entities should be regulated in the form of a contract to clearly define the role, rights, and responsibilities of each party. Besides, determining the type of contract used in the e-wallet and concluding the contract correctly to remove this payment instrument's jurisprudential doubts is also of great importance. However, in the instructions prepared by the Central Bank (Summer 2020) in several cases, the necessity of concluding a contract between e-wallet holders and e-wallet providers has been emphasized; But what kind of contract it should be, has been neglected.

The results of this study show that failure to determine the type of contract raises several religious suspicions, including lack of right intention, false property, and Gharar, and deprives the possibility of paying interest due to encountering usury. Therefore, using the e-wallet, the payment of any additional funds in the form of interest, rewards, cashback, or discounts to users will face suspicion of usury. At present, the interactions between the main pillars of the e-wallet, namely the leaders and the users, bring to mind that the contract between them is a loan.

In this report, to determine the basic contract, the loan's jurisprudential model and three other models, including Wadiah, Joaleh, and Wakalah, are proposed. The challenge of usury in each of them is examined. The results show that the Wakalah contract can take into account the religious criteria such as easy usability, and the possibility of easy intention, the absence of usury, no restrictions on the scope of seizures, the possibility of paying interest, rewards, and discounts to users and a share of profits to managers. Wakalah can be the most appropriate contract to determine the electronic wallet's contractual framework (open and closed).

Under a Wakalah agreement, e-wallet holders give their representatives the right to use their credit and balance in two areas: pay off their small debts as well as profitable activities, and receive a fee as an honorarium for Wakalah. Easy usability and no need for a new intention in concluding the e-wallet process is a special advantage for the Wakalah contract; Because it reduces the complexity of the contract.

In addition, since the contractual relationship between users and administrators is Wakalah, there is the possibility of additional payments in the form of interest on account or any rewards and discounts, and usury will not be suspected. It should be noted that dividends paid to users are of the indefinite type, and it is necessary, as the rules of dividends on bank investment deposits, at the end of the financial period to calculate the definitive interest and settle the difference with users.

Overall, this report concludes that the use of the Wakalah contract as the basic contract of the e-wallet does not involve the sensitivities of the loan agreement, and due to the great flexibility of this agreement, its use under terms and conditions of the agreement have more advantages compared to other contracts. Of course, as is common in many Islamic countries, a loan contract can be used as a basic contract in designing an e-wallet. However, if a loan agreement is used, the amounts in the e-wallet will be removed from the property of the wallet holders and transferred to the credit institution. Therefore, the profits from this place also belong to the institution.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned report was presented in the jurisprudential council on December 16/2020 and December 30/2020 by the expert report of the Monetary and Banking Research Institute of the Central Bank on the subject of "jurisprudential study of the use of electronic wallets in Iran."  Finally, in the meeting dated January 13, 2021, which was chaired by Dr. Hemmati, Governor of the Central Bank, and attended by other members of the Jurisprudential Council, the following items were approved: 

1.      It is allowed to use the two contracts of "loan" and "Wakalah" to use the electronic wallet tool.

2.      In the case of using a loan agreement, the amounts in the e-wallet have become the credit institution's property, so the profits obtained from this place belong to the institution.

3.      In the case of using a Wakalah contract, the amounts in the e-wallet and the profits obtained from this place belong to the holders of the e-wallet.

4.      The jurisprudential relationship between the parties must be clearly defined in the contracts that are concluded between its parties (credit institution, managers, and wallet holders) to provide e-wallet service.  

5.      Receipt of actual fee for providing e-wallet service is allowed for the credit institution.