Dashen Bank, one of the oldest private commercial banks in the country, partnered with two MIDROC Technology Group members, Queens Supermarket and Addis Home Depot, to launch a new e-payment gift card. The card, which uses prepaid stored-value money, allows its holders to pay for purchases at all branches of the two stores. The e-payment platform, built by Moneta Technologies S.C and implemented through Amole, Dashen's digital banking system, utilizes a contactless card that has a chip embedded in it. Customers make payment by simply waving their cards towards the card readers at the store's point of sale terminals. The trio, Dashen, Queens and Addis Home Depot, unveiled their new product last Saturday, October 10, 2020, at the premise of ELFORA Agro-Industries, where the branches of the three partners are located together. The ceremony, attended by Jemal Ahmed, CEO of Midroc Investment Group, Asfaw Alemu CEO of Dashen Bank, and Abdulfeta Yusuf, Addis Ababa City Administration Trade & Industry Bureau Head, saw the first cardholders use the new system. "The gift card is part of Dashen's contribution to Ethiopia's journey of becoming a cashless society and is line with the recent regulations imposed on cash holdings," said Asfaw Alemu, CEO of Dashen Bank. Both the Bank and MIDROCK believe that a new gift card will increase their clients' spending power. "We plan to become big-time retailers like Amazon and Alibaba, and the gift card is a small step towards that," said Jemal Ahmed, CEO of MIDORC, a business founded by the Ethio-Saudi business tycoon Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheik). Queens, one of the 25 companies under MIDORC, was established ten years ago with a 23.8 million birr capital. It is engaged in consumable products' wholesale and retail trade. The supermarket, with eight branches, retails agro-industry products, agricultural products, seafood, personal care products, detergents, canned foods, beverages, and other manufactured merchandise. On the other hand, Addis Home Depot provides construction materials, hand tools and hardware, kitchen appliances, home and office furniture, electronics items, gardening equipment, safety and cleaning materials, and stationery materials at six branches. The store, established in 2003 with a paid-up capital of five million birr and 15 employees, had reached a capital of 78 million birr and 167 employees as of 2019. The combined sales volume of the 13 branches of the two stores had reached close to half a billion birr at the end of 2019. Clients are not required to have a bank account at Dashen to use the gift cards and can obtain them by depositing a minimum value of 1000 birr at any of the branches of Dashen, Queens, or Addis Home Depot. Whenever top-up is needed, clients can use the same mechanism to store more money on the cards. To encourage people to use the cards, the partners have agreed to add holidays and frequent buyer prizes and bonuses. In addition, a discount of 3pc is attached to all purchases done using the cards for the next three months. The Bank has printed 40,000 gift cards for now and aims to issue 10,000 of them by Christmas. Besides adding more supermarkets that will accept its gift card, Dashen is also set to launch a new debit card where cardholders can borrow funds to make payments. Dashen that was established in 2002, has over 450 branches and close to 2 million clients. In the last fiscal year, the Bank netted 1 billion birr in profit, a 12pc increase from the preceding year. The Bank's total assets have reached 67 billion birr while its capital sat at 8.57 billion birr during the same period. Moneta Technologies S.C, the fintech company that supplied the gift cards system, is also the same company that developed Amole for Dashen. Amole has close to 2.1 million users, and transactions amounting to an average of one billion birr are done using the e-payment platform every month.