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Technology will be the game changer for financial inclusion in Pakistan

With rising mobile phone adoption, maturing 3G/4G telecom services, rapidly growing mobile money solutions and innovative initiatives like QR codes and mobile wallets, the digital landscape of Pakistan is all set to change. Other recent innovations include MasterPass/Fone Pay and SimSim etc. The industry expects the number of merchants to increase to 100,000 from the current 30,000. The creation of this addition to our ecosystem will help reduce financial exclusion.

Masterpass

Masterpass is a digital payment service that allows you to check out faster by storing all your payment and shipping information in one secure location.

Fone Pay

Powered by Masterpass QR, a quick response (QR) mobile payments solution that allows consumers to make simple and secure digital payments across devices and channels, FonePay combines a user’s bank accounts, mobile wallets and payment cards including debit, credit and prepaid products on one platform. FonePay currently allows over 30 million people in Pakistan, in collaboration with leading financial institutions, to link accounts from Meezan Bank, Soneri Bank, Easypaisa and JazzCash. Users can also link any Mastercard credit, debit or prepaid card issued in Pakistan and use the app to pay in seconds.

SimSim

In Pakistan, the microfinance industry has been very successful in harnessing the branchless banking network. Pakistan is one of the few countries where there is a specific license for microfinance banks. Consequently, it is also one of the few countries where telecom even courier companies have invested in microfinance banks (Telenor Bank, U-Microfinance Bank, Waseela MF Bank by Mobilink & TCS Bank etc.).

SimSim is a collaboration between FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited and FINJA Private Limited. This is the first time a bank and a fintech, acting as the super-agent of the bank, have partnered to create a digital financial product. SimSim successfully completed a beta pilot prior to the formal approval from SBP, and recorded PKR 600 million in transactions, 30,000 in self-registered mobile wallet accounts and a retail network of 500 participating merchants.

 

Jetixa

Jetixa is a global payments solutions provider offering innovative and disruptive products and services to the cross-border financial services and payments industry to help business stay ahead of the game.

Wechat Pay

WeChat pay is yet to be officially launched in Pakistan. Since China highly focuses Pakistan due to CPEC and with the adoption of Chinese currency, its importance has grown manifolds. The payment gateway is ready for Alipay, UnionPay, Visa, MasterCard with mobile POS enabling WeChat Pay, Alipay and UnionPay certified with EMVco and PCI together with NFC features. WeChat pay ecosystem comprises of:

  1. Tencent
  2. Acquirers (Banks, MSBs etc.)
  3. Service providers
  4. Merchants

GS1 Hong Kong, a non-profit organization with 110 offices worldwide, has recently collaborated with WeChat for launch of its own account with a function “WeChat Scan”. Two millioncompanies across 20 industries in over 150 countries are using the GS1 System of Standards.

In the short to medium term, “digital” will keep getting traction. Block chain models will mature. Mobile money will continue to get tractionin emerging markets only. While cash will still be around, technology will be the game changer. If one wants to take advantage of the global marketplace while keeping online data more secure, then it’s well worth having a closer look at technology. With the right security management and an awareness of the potential growth, digital financial services now could give businesses a more solid foundation when it comes to the future of worldwide currency and global transactions.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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