First Data has signed a three-year agreement with the Ministry of State for Administrative Development of the Republic of Egypt (MSAD) for the extension of the Egyptian government’s family card project.

Under terms of the agreement, First Data will provide a fully managed service for the issuing and processing of more than 4.5 million multifunctional, reloadable smart cards. These cards are used by eligible families to claim subsidized food at grocery stores and social solidarity pensions at service centers throughout Egypt.

First Data will roll out cards during the next seven months, working with specialist local and government institutes including Masria Card, a card manufacturer in Egypt, for cards production and personalisation, and the Aviation Information Technology (AVIT), a subsidiary of the Egyptian Holding for airports and air navigation, for the provision of hardware and networking infrastructure.

Moreover, AVIT will provide operation and data hosting services from its data center to support the installation and maintenance of 11,000 new point-of-sale terminals at grocery stores throughout nine governorates in Egypt, serving 4.5 million families each month.

First Data will also develop a network of service centres to support cardholders and grocery outlets. The payment card and processing technology used will allow citizens to use the cards to claim a range of other government benefits such as health, transportation, gas and other subsidies, when these are launched.

George Tsoutsos, managing director of First Data’s operations in North Africa, said: “We continue to expand our relationships with government sector organisations, particularly those in emerging markets, and are delighted to support MSAD by playing a key role in delivering this important piece of payments infrastructure in Egypt.”