Pakistan clearly lacks e-commerce infrastructure. Huge community, which is sharply growing with time, is being deprived of doing online businesses. Some courageous people tried their luck and evolved new payment solutions such as cash on delivery, cheque, wire and so on; which are obviously not as smart as credit card processing.
We know that balance share/load outlets are abundantly available in the lengths and breadths of Pakistan. The idea of using this balance share for money transfer hasn’t hit many minds yet, but let’s discuss if it can replace other payment solutions, especially for small money transfers.
For instance, you are in Islamabad and intend to buy a HeadPhone from an online store. What if the store owner offers you with an option to pay him Rs. 700 through balance share on one of his mobile number (that would match your network)? I guess it’s simplest of all other payment methods, but let’s dig out possible pros and cons
- Do able for everyone
- Reliable of course, as these balance shares systems have matured enough to not drop any transaction
- Process hasn’t legal status; I don’t know what implications a user may face in case if buy/sell process goes in court. For example, if you bought a Camera from an online store and now you want to approach Consumer Protection Court for any reason, then you may not present your payment method as a legal one.
- Greater fraud chances – reason is that there won’t be any documentation of the process so you can’t claim your transaction (just like we discussed in above point)
- Larger transactions may lead you in little unaffordable situation
- Higher Service Charges – if we take balance share/transfer deduction as service charges, you may find it too high compared to service charges by other methods. Balance share deducts as high as 5 percent of transaction, while credit card processing companies charge 1 to 3.5 percent at most.
- Its manual – unlike credit card processing there must be a store representative to interact with customer and carry forward the transaction, but no worries; as other available methods in Pakistan follow the same as well
- What else?
Please share your thoughts and let’s see if its workable model or not. It would be great if someone could come forward with case studies
Image via Saad Hamid [Pic Shows an outlet’s advert at Karman Market, Rawalpindi]