Using Balance Share as Online Payment Solution

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.

balance_share

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

Pros

  • Easy
  • Simpler
  • Quick
  • Do able for everyone
  • Reliable of course, as these balance shares systems have matured enough to not drop any transaction

Cons

  • 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]

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Azeez

    Hi,

    I am living in Bahrain (Middle East) and this model is already runing successfully here by a local Mobile operator (Zain). They call this service as the “Zain Wallet”. Check out the following links for more info on how it works.

    http://www.bh.zain.com/portal/page/portal/personal/services/zainWallet

    http://wirelessfederation.com/news/13463-zain-bahrain-launches-zain-wallet-bahrain/

    • i see, but Azeez, that’s more of operator driven attribute, and may take some time until it actually happens in Pakistan.

      But my focal point was to share balance like Easy Load, U-Share, and similar services already available.

      It maybe recalled that through this balance share service, customers can transfer his/her balance with another user over the same network.

      • Azeez

        But Aamir, In my opinion this Balance sharing option is not suitable for the retialer/seller, until and unless the Operator agrees to encash his sim balance.

        Your thoughts ???

        • As this is going to be a desi sort of solution, what we call desi totka, of course, retailers will have to come with some way out,

          Such as, they can get cash from PCO shops, who sell cards/balance. Or they can even give their number to get balance and so on..

  • Rao Khan

    Hello,

    I am working in UBL e-Commerce and its been more than 3 years now, since we have launched Orion Mobile Wallet.

    * Transfer real money to anyone
    * Buy prepaid vouchers
    * Pay bills
    * Order Lunch / Dinner
    * Send flowers and gifts
    * And many more.

    All this through a cheapest SMS commands example “Buy U100” will get you a Ufone 100 rupee voucher details on.

    Furthermore, UBL is offering multiple channels (ATM, SMS, Net Banking, Branch, Agent System[PCO]) for Orion transactions.

    You can also disburse the real money from your Orion virtual account and get the hard cash against it from any UBL branch.

    Even if you don’t have any UBL account, still you can avail this wide range of e-Commerce service on your CNIC. Do follow this link and get yourself register for free.

    https://www.ubl.com.pk/orion/Services.aspx

    • Rao Khan, thanks for sharing this information, but i was looking from a different angel for different market. Do you guys (UBL i mean) offer merchant accounts where they can process credit cards of any bank? VISA, Master and so on? I am sure UBL doesn’t do this.

      In this case, what if someone wants to open an online store? what options are available for him/her for money transactions? Balance share can be one of them!

    • Zee

      boss UBL ka itna acha network hai k us say apni ATM tou sambhalti nahi itnay saru option kesay chala raha hai. i m using UBL banking since last 8 years…

  • Very Nice Post Indeed , But one thing should be clear that Mobile Commerce is Entirely Different from E-Commerce ( Called E-Business Now a Days) .
    –The Business Model Which Mr.Aamir is Discussing Can only workable with local online Sellers, Which are very Rare in Pakistan .
    –I think AMAANA is handling this type of model , Like they introduced Branchless Banking Idea in Collabration with KASHF Foundation.
    –This Model is totally dependent on Mobile Operators.
    –It is Workable if Some New Company Takes this opportunity to collabrate with all the operators and develop some sort of Merchant Accounts ( Acceptable Worldwide).

    —But every thing needs a Base , Online Shopping is not popular in Pakistan, First we should focus on promoting Interest of Customers in E-Transactions, Than only E-Commerce or Mobile Commerce Could be Fruitfull.

  • Shayaan Tahir

    To what my understanding of the Pakistani online market is that the problem is not that people do not have access to a credit card process system in pakistan as even if we did no one is going to trust you with their cash and pay you in advance !! Think about it would you ?? There is a concept in pakistan where they like to get the feel of the thing before they pay for it ! Strange but true :) .. Im currently running a online store in Pakistan with over 5-8 orders a day and none of our customers are facing any problems making their payments as we keeping it simple by just offering Cash on delivery in Karachi as we are based here and with that offer Cash on Pickup in Lahore, Faislabad , Islamabad , Peshawar , Sialkot & Multan where custmors need to go after placing their orders to pick up their goods and pay their cash . This way these people get to see the products before they can pay for it and we dont have to run out with Cash . Till now things are going really smooth and as we have set up our system well and feel we dont really need a credit card processor but even if someones wants to offer their customers the option of making their payments online with credit cards then ill advise you to please just get a google checkout account as they do accept pakistani credit cards !! ..

  • Neo

    Salam ,
    This mode of payment can further be extended and utilized as the processing and working system of online payments in commercial banks is too tedious and cumbursome for a novice person to operate.
    The model can work like this prototype
    1. The person at easyload shop in the buyer`s city is authorised with the telecom switch operator with security deposit with the telecom company.
    2.The buyer order`s the esy load person to transfer certain amount to the seller of the product , which will generate a separate code for buyer. when the buyer receives the product he then send that code to the seller to redeem his amount by inputting the code in the telecom application and get the balance transfer.

    open for comments.
    Neo

  • Arnita Rosenkoetter

    I would want to write and say what a perfect job you did on this.

  • Is it possible for you to (or somebody else) tell me the least expensive place on the internet to send flowers? All sites I have found charge too much for delivery.

    • Abbas

      Hi. Try TCS sentiments express. Reliable and reasonable price

  • Marie Smith

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