Kazakhstan's groundbreaking digital finance initiative

Introducing the first CBDC-linked Visa card

By Vira Platonova, Senior Vice President & Group Country Manager, CISSEE, Visa

Visa, in partnership with the National Payment Corporation of Kazakhstan and leading Kazakh banks, recently unveiled the first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)-linked Visa card. Launched at the XI Congress of Financiers in Almaty, this pioneering initiative heralds a transformative shift for the nation’s financial sector, seamlessly integrating the stability of traditional banking with the innovation of digital currencies.

The introduction of the Digital Tenge-linked Visa card marks a milestone moment for Kazakhstan's digital evolution. Set to significantly enhance access to the digital economy for its citizens through streamlined government transactions, enhanced efficiency of fund distributions, increased transparency in government procurement processes and strengthened cybersecurity measures. For the average Kazakh citizen, this translates to more accessible and diverse financial services, including the revolutionary capability for offline transactions.

Kazakhstan's commitment to a digital future is embodied in its ambitious Digital Kazakhstan program which, in addition to accelerating the pace of the nation’s development, has been instrumental in enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness in the global market.

The key strategic objectives for Digital Kazakhstan are to solve social problems and improve the quality of life of the population through the use of digital technologies. Considerable investment to date has resulted in the establishment of a robust digital infrastructure; in 2023, the 4G network coverage in Kazakhstan is reported to have reached a penetration rate of close to 88%, with 3G network coverage now being ubiquitous. This, combined with, a mobile connection rate exceeding the population itself, the country demonstrates a high level of technological integration and readiness for digital transformation.

At the forefront of Kazakhstan’s digital emergence is the introduction of the Digital Tenge, the launch of which coincided with the Tenge's 30th anniversary, signaling a new digital era for the national currency. The launch of the Digital Tenge-linked Visa card is a prime example of effective collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with technology providers. Visa's extensive global network is instrumental in integrating the Digital Tenge into international payment systems, showcasing the potential of partnerships to drive practical, innovative solutions in digital finance.

Overall, the initiative marks a significant leap towards a more interconnected, efficient, and inclusive financial ecosystem, serving as a beacon of global financial innovation, and illustrating how strategic foresight and collaborative efforts can yield transformative results. This venture is a testament to the boundless possibilities when a nation embraces technological advancements, paving the way for a more inclusive and efficient future for its citizens and setting a new standard for the global financial community.

Tag: About Visa Tag: Financial Inclusion Tag: Payment technology