The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) plans to go live with the micropayment gateway (MPG), an instant payment scheme, by the start of the next year, as part of its efforts to develop modern and robust payment systems in the country, it said in a report.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in collaboration with international partners, experts, vendors, and the financial industry, has achieved various milestones. A major milestone of the project is to ensure the deployment of state-of-the-art infrastructure to build and operate the gateway.

“MPG is a state-of-the-art, interoperable, and secure payment platform that would enable consumers, merchants, and government entities to exchange funds in a seamless, instant, and cost-effective manner.

“It has advanced functionalities to process instant/ near real-time and alias-based payments, bulk transfers and requests to pay and capability to (take) onboard participants including banks, merchants, electronic money institutions (EMIs), etc through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).”

The central bank started work on MPG in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it was learned.

Karandaaz Digital is supporting the creation of a micropayment gateway with the State Bank of Pakistan. This gateway will enable low-cost digital transactions between mobile wallets of various financial service providers, allowing interoperability. The micropayment gateway shall not only promote financial deepening of the already financially included, but also bring the unbanked and excluded into the formal fold.

In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic which has posed serious economic and social challenges for regulators, policy makers and services providers, etc., the digital transformation has become vital, not only for payments and financial services but also for every sector of the economy catering to financial needs of the customers.

The SBP, being the regulator of the payments and financial industry, has played a great role to promote and develop payment and digital financial services in the country. The SBP’s report revealed that the payments industry in Pakistan continued to show healthy growth, both in terms of volume and value of transactions conducted during FY2020. In recent years, banking through digital channels has been gaining popularity in the country and the number of transactions through digital means has seen considerable growth in the last fiscal year.

Image source: Incubistan

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