Difficulties in obtaining e-wallet financial accounts could jeapardize workers’ wages

Online poll by the Jordanian National Commission for Women and the International Labour Organization show that 58% of males and 57% of females could not create e-wallet financial accounts. Yet such accounts are key to wage protection.

News | 27 May 2020
A reported increase in the number of registered e-wallets in Jordan emphasises this digital tool’s role in meeting Covid-19 challenges, and ensuring private sectors workers receive facilitated services protecting their wages, particularly females, who face pay gaps and violations.

According the Jordan Payments and Clearing Company (JoPACC), April 2020 statistics showed 759,539 registered e-wallets, with JOD 62,485,310 million transactions, compared to 619,895 e-wallets, with JOD 17,323,989 million in March 2020.

But a majority of private sector workers polled online by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) reported difficulty in signing up for electronic wallets, which are key for wage protection.

The poll on Facebook, conducted in cooperation with the National Committee for Pay Equity (NCPE), sought to assess whether e-wallet platforms offer a user-friendly experience, enabling employers to transfer wages to workers in female-dominated sectors such as education, health, and industry, during Jordan’s Covid-19 lockdown.

Main results

Of the total 2454 respondents aged 18-56 years from various economic sectors in Jordan’s 12 governorates 19.6% were female (480 persons) and 80.4% male (1947 persons) – figures that reflect the approximate labour force participation rate of females.

The poll showed that 58% of males and 57% of females could not create e-wallet accounts on designated platforms. While 31% of males, and 29% of females found the process easy, 14% of females and 11% of males said registration was complicated.

Asked about explanatory information disseminated by the Ministry of Labour (MoL) and the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) on e-wallet platforms, 25% of females and 24% of males found it insufficient, but a further 25% of males and 21% of females disagreed. On the same point, 31% of males, and 30% of females said they have not read the explanatory material, while 24% of females and 20% of males were unaware of it.

The highest poll turnout was in the capital Amman (40%), and the lowest in the southern city of Maan (1%).

E-wallets protect wages

An e-wallet is a financial account used via a mobile application for transfer of funds, payment of bills, savings, online shopping, and other transactions. Users do not need bank accounts to create e-wallets, which are operated by seven CBJ-approved platforms: ZainCash, Dinarak, Orange Money, Mahfazti, National Wallet, Gadha, and Aya.

The Jordanian government, in cooperation with ILO, established in 2011, the NCPE, which is jointly headed by the MoL and the JNCW.

In recent years, the NCPE worked on identifying the root causes of gender pay gap in Jordan, developing the capacity of stakeholders, reforming legislation and organisations, and enhancing gender pay equity.

At a New York City meeting of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) in September 2018, Jordan undertook to bridge gender pay gaps in the private education and health sectors, particularly wage protection through electronic payment systems.

Covid-19 an opportunity to protect wages

Challenges imposed by Covid-19, particularly stay-at-home lockdowns, highlight the growing need for e-wallets to ensure wage protection -- which the ILO and the NCPE have always demanded.

The ILO believes e-wallets are essential for transparent documentation of employment data, and adherence to minimum wage and social security insurance standards, helping the authorities control the process and prevent violations.

From government perspective, the digital tool helps protect workers’ rights, support the private sector production system, facilitate financial transactions, and ensure safety under Covid-19.

Electronic funds transfer (EFT) gives beneficiaries access to round-the-clock cash, online payment of bills, loan and insurance benefits, and maintained financial profiles.

At the same time, EFT helps fight child labour and unlicensed workers, and documents employment and termination processes as well as overtime pay.


The online poll results indicate that accessibility issues reported by respondents could limit benefits and objectives of e-wallets. Action is required to overcome such obstacles:
  1. Government and public agencies: Increased explanatory material educating people on the use of e-wallet platforms in a clear and specified manner including videos, infographics, radio/TV messages, and FAQs.
  2. Civil society organisations and workers unions: Enhanced awareness of the importance of e-wallets for the private sector, including workers and employers, particularly with the growing use of technology, while at the same time emphasising confidentiality and safety of transactions, which save time and effort.