By Sami Zaptia.
London, 26 October 2017:
Three young Libyan IT engineers have today launched a new application (App), ANETNY, to help Libyan shoppers identify shops and other commercial establishments that accept debit / prepaid cards through POS (Point of Sale) machines.
The three Tripoli residents, aged between 30-36, created the App during their own time as they all have other fulltime jobs. However, speaking to Libya Herald today, they indicated their desire to leave their various current jobs and launch their own IT company soon.
The three IT graduates, Mouad Idris, Haithem Attia and Hatem Sager, said that the inspiration for the idea was the continued struggle they witness by Libyans in finding commercial establishments that take debit cards.
‘‘We came up with the idea to minimize the struggle of many people’’ they explained. They revealed that there are a growing number of Libyan youngsters interested in (computer programme) coding and IT.
‘We launched our moderate APP as our part in raising the standard of Information Technology in Libya and in our understanding of the need of our society for such a service’’. The App is initially available only for Android users.
Anety, which is Libyan for ”direct me”, is advertised as being quite versatile, enabling the user to choose ad filter outlets that have a particular debit card (currently there are at least four payment processing networks in Libya serving different state-owned and private sector banks) such as Numu, Idfaly, Raseed and Mobicash.
The App allows for the use of filters to target specific shops and covers quite a range of commercial establishments ranging from food stores, butchers, clothes shops, travel agents, events halls, IT shops, accessories shops, housewares shops etc. It also covers shops in a number of cities including Tripoli and Benghazi. The app also gives map directions to the selected shop.
Experts in the field who tested the App today said it is a good start but that it needed further development and increased store data to be imputed. The map function was not fully working either.
The App should come as a welcomed service to beleaguered Libyan residents as the country continues to endure an acute cash crisis with fluctuating cash withdrawal limits of about LD 300-500 per month depending on banks.
Many outlets refuse to use POS/debit cards as there is a 20-40 percent surcharge (bribe?) by bank employees or police/militias guarding banks for withdrawing cash from their own accounts.
While the private sector has sprung into action in quickly distributing and installing POS machines to enable the use of debit cards, the dominant state-sector banks have been criticized for failing to act faster.
The App is in Arabic.