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The Shetab (Interbank Information Transfer Network) system is the only electronic banking clearance and automated payments system used in Iran. The system was introduced in 2002 with the intention of creating a uniform backbone for the Iranian banking system to handle ATM, POS and other card-based transactions.

Prior to its introduction, some Iranian banks were issuing cards that only worked on the issuing banks ATMs and POS machines. Since the introduction of Shetab, all banks must adhere to its standards and be able to connect to it. Furthermore, all issued credit or debit cards must be Shetab capable. As of the end of 2003, the Shetab system had 2,926 ATMs and 16,070 POS units connected to it.[1]



Shetab was introduced in 2002, and now all card issuing banks in Iran are required to connect to the system.[2] In 2002, when the system was introduced there were at approximately 2.8 million domestic debit cards in circulation, of those approximately 530,000 were capable of using the Shetab system.[3]

In 2005, the government obliged the Central Bank of Iran and the Iranian banks, mostly state owned, to set up all the necessary infrastructures (regulatory, hardware, software) for fully launching e-money in Iran by March 2005. While this plan has not yet fully materialised, local debit/credit cards are now commonplace and have removed the main obstacle to the growth of e-commerce (in the national scale) as well as the full roll out of e-government initiatives.[4] By 2010 it is expected that 12 million cards would be issued, all of which work with the Shetab system.[5]

The Agricultural Bank (Bank Keshavarzi) was the first Iranian bank to connect to the Shetab system. [6] Saman Bank was the first bank to introduce online banking services in Iran. Since, it has been at the forefront of expansion and enhancement of electronic banking.


  • In March 2005 agreements were reached between the Iranian Central Bank and Bahrain's ATM network Benefit as well as the United Arab Emirates's UAES to connect their systems to the Shetab network [7].
  • In October 2005, Iran and China linked their banking systems. [8]
  • In July 2006 the Shetab system was linked with Qatar's ATM network (NAPS).[9]
  • In May 2008, The automated teller machine (ATM) network of Iran has been linked to those in Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, enabling customers to have direct access to their accounts from Iran and the Arab countries.[10]


In 2010, nearly all Iranian banks and some international banks in Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain were members of the Shetab System, as follows:[1][11]


As of 2006, Iran was still very much a cash based society. It is expected that a unified clearance system, such as Shetab, will provide significantly greater efficiency, reduce crime, reduce money printing costs, and improve tax collection amongst other benefits[5]. It is also expected to improve the quality of life of citizens whom, once the system is fully operational, would no longer be required to spend large amounts of time organising things in person and would concequently be able to conduct activities immediately over the phone or over the internet[5]. The impact of the system is already being felt as corporations establish e-commerce, supply chains, online banking and retailing systems.[12][13]

In 2007, Tetra-Tech IT Company announced that using VISA and MasterCard is now possible for online sales and in Iranian e-card terminals at shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies for Iranians and foreign tourists.[14] Iran's electronic commerce will reach 10,000 billion rials ($1 billion) by March 2009.[15]

References and notes

See also

External links



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