Pakistan Mobile Money Revolution

Pakistan government is handing out Rs. 40,000 per family to nearly a million internally displaced persons (IDPs) through mobile service operator Zong's mobile SIMs. The government is attempting to ease the discomforts of displacement for such a large number of people displaced after the start of Pakistan Army's Operation ZarbeAzb  to root out terrorists from North Waziristan tribal agency. Zong is one of several mobile service operators offering Easypaisa m-money service. It was pioneered by Telenor Pakistan.

Easypaisa moved $3.5 billion in fiscal 2012-13. Bangladesh's bKash did $4 billion over the same period. These figures were well ahead of the $3.2 billion moved in comparable period by India's M-Pesa mobile money network, according to New York Times.  Over the last 12 months, the m-money market volume in Pakistan has reached 153 million annual transactions worth US$ 6.2 billion, according to Asian Development Bank.

Easypaisa M-money Growth in Pakistan (Source: ADB) 

Pakistan’s m-money infrastructure has grown rapidly since the launch of the first domestic initiative in October 2009. This expansion has been enabled by a liberal financial and telecommunications regulatory framework, and active private sector participation. Four out of five cellular mobile companies currently operating in Pakistan have launched m-money systems in partnership with financial institutions. The m-money market volume has reached 153 million annual transactions worth US$ 6.2 billion.

There are two ways through which m-money services are offered in Pakistan. Over 95% of m-money transactions are done through mobile banking (m-banking) agents, and the rest are processed directly through customers’ mobile-wallet (m-wallet) accounts, using mobile phones. M-banking agents (retail points) provide the basic infrastructure for Pakistan’s m-money services, whereas customers’ m-wallet accounts currently have a limited role in the m-money services market.

It is believed that the reason why India lags behind Bangladesh and Pakistan in mobile money is because its regulators require mobile operators to work with banks to provide the services. Mobile networks would prefer to have their own agents who can cash out the digital money into hard currency. Much of the infrastructure is already in place, because there are so many locations where customers can top up on airtime. But the mobile operators are not allowed to use those sales outlets as financial agents in India.

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Riaz Haq said…
At the start of the year, a collaboration between Habib Bank and Monet resulted in the launch of the first mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system in the country. It allows retailers of all sizes to take payments using a mobile phone and can run on a slow GPRS connections. While it doesn’t sound ground-breaking – and it’s something commonplace in other countries, using gizmos made by companies like Square – it’s a breakthrough moment for Pakistan. Simply, it’s a card-swiping gadget that plugs into smartphones; it looks like this:

Cash is king in Pakistan. But digital alternatives are finally emerging

This could finally disrupt the cash-only culture and local payments industry. It could even chart a course that emerging and future startups can take.

Ahson Saeed, head of marketing and business development at Monet, says the aim is to change the way both consumers and retailers focus on cash payments in Pakistan. “Complete digitization is our end goal,” Saeed says. This can give retailers “a data-centric system that is absolutely free from error,” he adds.

Useful for startup services
Saeed points to the ride-sharing app Savaree and the recently-launched contractual worker startup as examples of services that would benefit from the mPOS system that his firm has launched. “It is imperative for early-stage startups to have streamlined cash flows, and by employing mPOS the threat of pilferage as well as higher insurance costs are both removed.”

For startups to scale up in Pakistan, it is imperative for a larger proportion of the population to be comfortable in using their services. This means that smaller grocery stores, tobacconists, tea stalls, vegetable retailers, and even transport and communication services all need to be brought on board with digital payments. To do this, Monet is venturing into areas which private sector banks have traditionally ignored.

The first web company to deploy this new mPOS system is Daraz, the Amazon-esque ecommerce startup run by Rocket Internet that has been operating in Pakistan since July 2012. Amyn Ghazali, head of alternative payments at Daraz, is similarly optimistic about the impact that this will have on the business. “Over 90 percent of our existing orders are done on a cash-on-delivery basis,” he reveals to Tech in Asia. “This model is inefficient and restrictive, as insurance costs burgeon for big ticket items such as electronic goods, mobile phones, and home appliances, thereby impacting our bottom line [This]. mPOS is a workaround which benefits both the end consumer and Daraz.”

It is still difficult to ascertain how quickly this would reach mass-acceptance. The positive indications are that this kind of smartphone-connected POS is low-cost technology to implement. The Monet gadget itself comes with the backing of one of Pakistan’s largest private-sector banks, and the founders are working aggressively to market it to segments that are not effectively covered by conventional POS systems. In time, this kind of phone-mounted payment system will certainly redefine how small and big businesses work and how consumers pay for things.
Riaz Haq said…
#Daraz #Pakistan Black Friday: Big discounts & fulfilling online experience with #ecommerce #EasyPaisa #mobilemoney … recently announced the launch of Black Friday, the mother of all sales around the globe, in Pakistan. Shoppers seem thrilled for what appears to be the biggest sale of the year in the country, where bargain hunters will be at the edge of their seats, starting 12 am on November 27, to grab the best deals at
There is no denying that an ecommerce revolution is taking place in Pakistan. This revolution only started a little while ago and is accelerating with blinding speed. And from where we see it, Daraz Black Friday will be an incredible demonstration for the world to witness the power of Pakistani consumption just like recently, China’s Single’s Day reflected a shift in their economy and spending habits. has been partnering with big companies in the past and for Black Friday the big names on board are PTCL, Ponds, Mediatek, InnJoo and Easypay as official payment partners, offering an additional (up to) 25% off on products to customers who pay via Easypay on Black Friday. You can be subscribed to any network provider to enjoy this discount – basically, everyone with a mobile-phone can, you’re not confined to any particular network. This discount will be on top of the (up to) 70% off on products you avail during the online sale on November 27.

While, of course, all other payment options are available for customers, from cash-on-delivery, swipe on delivery, online card payment, internet bank transfer (IBFT) and ATM; the process of paying via Easypay, to avail the additional discount of up to 25% off, is also very simple process. Once you’ve placed your order, select Easypay as your payment option and then complete the payment using VISA or MasterCard through the Easypay online portal, or by making the payment at the nearest Easypaisa retail outlets or by using your Telenor/Easypaisa mobile account.
The discounted prices will be displayed in the cart and not on the product pages. The levels of discount are bifurcated depending on the total cart value. Customers with a total cart value below PKR 15,000 can avail 20% discount on their purchase whereas customers with a total cart value above PKR 15,000 can avail 10% discounts on their purchase. The discounts are limited to products not exceeding PKR 100,000.
Those purchasing InnJoo, Infinix or Telenor phones on Daraz Black Friday will enjoy a flat 25% off on any model purchased when paying through Easypay. That’s exciting news as InnJoo will be launching three news phones Halo, Max 2 and Fire Plus besides its already available assortment on the website. Whereas Infinix will be launching Hot 2 – 1 GB version and offering a plethora of other exciting deals and freebies.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan (9% male, 2% female) Leads South Asia in #MobileMoney. #India (3% m, 1% f), #Bangladesh (3% m, 2% f) …

In 2014, an average of 3% of people in South Asia used a mobile phone to send or receive money. While there are still gaps between how often men and women use these services, Pakistan leads the region with 9% of men and 2% of women moving money on their mobiles. You can find more data on financial inclusion in the Global Findex Database
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s #Easypaisa offers thumbprint recognition to raise #mobile money transfer amount to Rs 50,000 - #fintech

Telenor-owned Easypaisa deployed biometric technology so it can increase the maximum amount that customers can send through its retailers.

Before the launch of thumbprint recognition, users could send or receive an upper limit of PKR15,000 ($150) per month though Easypaisa retailers. Now, secured by biometrics, Easypaisa raised that limit significantly to PKR50,000 per month.

Easypaisa said the addition of a thumbprint means retailers can ensure that a customer’s Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) is neither expired nor blocked by Pakistan’s government.

More than 20,000 out of 75,000 Easypaisa retailers are equipped and trained for biometric verification to transfer and receive funds, with more retailers being added.

“Easypaisa’s higher money transfer limits will address a growing segment of the market who want to send higher amounts, hence increase customers’ reach and trust, thus helping in tapping the true potential of branchless banking industry in Pakistan,” said Muhammad Yahya Khan, head of Easypaisa.
Riaz Haq said…
#Mastercard to add e-payment function to National Identity Cards #CNIC in #Pakistan. #NADRA

Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments industry, on Wednesday announced a strategic collaboration with Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Technologies to optimise national ID cards with an electronic payments functionality.

The move will allow citizens to carry out financial transactions and receive government disbursements by utilising the unique 13-digit identification number of their identity card.

Citizens will also be able to use their National ID to send and receive domestic and international remittances, eliminating the requirement to physically visit a bank branch or currency exchange house to meet their money transfer needs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mastercard will also use its next-generation payment processing technologies to process all online payments made by Pakistani citizens for the issuance of National ID cards, passports or any other document provisioned by NadraTechnologies.

The announcement was made during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, taking place from January 17-20 in Davos, Switzerland.

Aurangzaib Khan, Mastercard's country Manager for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said: “Our collaboration with Nadra Technologies is a testament to our commitment towards building a reliable and secure ecosystem for online payments in Pakistan."

"The new service will make international remittances more convenient both for the sender and beneficiary, and this is significant since Pakistan is one of the top receivers of remittances from abroad," he added

"Combining the National ID card with payment features will transform it into a powerful, multi-purpose channel for citizens to carry out financial transactions, and will facilitate faster and more efficient delivery of vital government services,” Aurangzaib elaborated.

Riaz Haq said…
SimSim, Pakistan’s first free mobile wallet, gets SBP approval

LAHORE – Pakistan’s first free mobile wallet, SimSim, has received regulatory approval from the State Bank of Pakistan.

The approval was granted, earlier this month, under the Branchless Banking Regulation framework formulated by SBP.

SimSim is collaboration between FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited and FINJA Pvt. 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’s pioneering instant mobile account will go a long way in boosting financial inclusion in the country and digitising the economy,” stated Mudassar Aqil, CEO of FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited.

Discussing future plans for SimSim, Qasif Shahid, CEO of FINJA, said that SimSim is not simply a product or an app, rather it is a movement to free digital commerce in Pakistan.

Monis Rahman, tech veteran and co-founder of FINJA, added that the ease of becoming part of the SimSim network positions it as a platform, which users can spread and grow without any friction.

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.

The mobile wallet is a highly innovative, automated process which relies on NADRA integration and machine learning. Anyone with a valid CNIC can create a SimSim branchless bank account, in under one minute, using their internet-enabled mobile phones.

SimSim is connected to other banks through 1-Link for instant transfers, while ATM cards are available for cash withdrawals. Payments through SimSim are free for the receiving and sending users with their mobile numbers acting as bank account numbers.

To be a part of the SimSim network, all anyone has to do is download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and set up their wallet.

FINCA Microfinance Bank

FINCA, one of the fastest growing microfinance bank with a global presence in 21 countries and a network of 105 branches in 94 cities across Pakistan. It is the pioneer microfinance bank in Pakistan which truly introduced the first complete digital mobile wallet – SIMSIM.
Riaz Haq said…
Finca launches #Pakistan’s first ever digital wallet. #mobilepayments

KARACHI – FINCA Microfinance Bank, one of the fastest growing microfinance banks in Pakistan, has announced a movement to make digital commerce and payments free in the country.

SimSim, a mobile payment platform, was introduced in partnership with Finja – an internationally funded FinTech startup – at a launch event Thursday night at Mohatta Palace, Karachi. The event was attended by major industry stakeholders, government officials, artists, tech enthusiasts and media figures.

Finja, the Fintech partner, developed the technology to enable anyone with a valid CNIC to open a remote zero account in less than one minute through their smartphones. As a consequence, Finca will broaden its outreach to multiple consumer segments including the financially excluded and underserved customer segments.

SimSim will give people access to frictionless payment options directed towards a diverse pool of merchants. It intends to act as a catalyst for financial inclusion and shall spur digital payments by making even the smallest ‘payment event’ free i.e. as low as one rupee.This open API platform allows any online business to integrate and become a part of the SimSim ecosystem. Moreover, in the near future, individuals will also be able to seek credit and buy insurance through the SimSim platform.

SimSim is also connected to other banks in Pakistan through 1-Link for instant money transfers. It is available for both Android and iOS smartphones.

While praising the initiative, Executive Director BPRG, State Bank of Pakistan, Syed Irfan Ali said, “The efforts of the SimSim team should be commended for creating a platform which offers ease of access to financial services. In particular, it has minimised the need for transaction free policy which will encourage increased usage of digital financial services at the consumer end.”

“It is also important for all digital service providers to pay special attention to customer protection rights and customer data protection when deploying new products and services in the evolving space of digital financial service,” he added.

“SimSim will enable FINCA Pakistan to broaden its reach to multiple consumer segments including financially un-served and underserved customer segments in a sustainable manner by enabling smartphone users to instantly open a mobile wallet with FINCA and transact digitally”, said AndrĂ©e Simon, Chief Executive Officer of Finca Impact Finance.

“SimSim, we believe, will transform and improve the lives of people by giving them financial identity and the power to change their lives,” said M Mudassar Aqil, CEO of Finca Microfinance Bank Limited.

While talking about SimSim, Finja Chief Executive Officer Qasif Shahid said that “SimSim is not just an app but is a free payment movement to transform Pakistan. Come join this movement and break free!”

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