An Open Letter to PayPal

paypal_logo

With retail e-commerce and Internet Businesses, world-over, demoing double digit growth every year, PayPal is considered the global standard for reliably carrying financial transactions over Internet.

With over 110 million users, PayPal handles 60% percent of Internet transactions. PayPal’s retail e-commerce transactions in US only crossed around $224.2 billion in 2012.

This shows humongous magnitude of potential that businesses are reaping over Internet.

However, all these gains are not available to Pakistani Internet users and businesses, leaving the country in centre of economic darkness. This is only why Pakistani online businesses aren’t contributing anything to national development, which are otherwise vital to economy in other regions of the world.

Our friend Faisal Khan has been making all possible efforts to bring PayPal into Pakistan, for which — besides other initiatives — he writes open letter to PayPal CEO every year. He has been doing this for over a decade now, but never got replied by PayPal.

I sincerely hope that this letter will get heard this time and will lead to a postive and productive conclusion this year.

I am producing the letter, that Faisal wrote, as it is. Here it goes:

January 16th 2013.

David A. Marcus
President
PayPal
2211 North First Street
San Jose, 
California 95131

Subject: PayPal for Pakistan

Dear Mr Marcus:

For a little over 10 years now, I have been writing to the President/CEO of PayPal every January asking Why isn’t PayPal available in Pakistan? For 11 years straight, I have never received an official reply. Not once.

Pakistan has been shunned by PayPal for many years now. Unofficial reasoning has been plentiful and speculative at best, so I will not delve into it. My goal here is two folds:

(a). Provide a little bit of statistical information about Pakistan
(b). To help PayPal connect with the right audience (Financial Regulators, Banks, etc.) to enable them to operate here in Pakistan.

Pakistan in brief:

  • Is a country of 180+ Million people.
  • That puts us as the 6th most populous country in the world.
  • Our overall Tele Density stands at 72%,
  • Mobile Tele Density at 68.8%.
  • Current number of Cellular Users is 121+ Million.
  • The number of Internet Users in Pakistan 29+ Million
  • Facebook users are 8+ Million.
  • Banking-wise, Pakistan has made great strides. Currently their are about 16+ Million users with ATM/Debit Cards
  • Roughly 5,800 ATMs in the country
  • 35,000+ POS Machines
  • 9,300 Real-Time Online Bank Branches.
  • On Branchless Banking, Pakistan’s numbers are soaring. At present we have about 1.8 Million users who are using Branchless Banking, with quarterly growth at about 25%.

We are by no means a market that is small, under-developed or not connected. We have ATM switches allowing you to do an instant Inter-Bank Funds Transfer (debit/credit) to any bank account in Pakistan (API is offered for this). Almost all the banks offer real-time KYC and AML checks (APIs available for this as well). Despite what you may read in the media, the country is flourishing and business accumen and entrepreneurial spirits are high.

We have an active Internet population (more than the total population of Australia and New Zealand combined), and yet we are deprived of PayPal, whilst countries like Rwanda, Botswana, Fiji, Panama, Sierra Leone, Tonga and Zambia have access to PayPal.

Our economy is much larger than Bhutan, Chad, Honduras, Somalia, Maldives, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen —combined! – Yet these countries are considered privileged enough to have PayPal, and Pakistan is not.

To put it simply: This is unfair.

I have read a lot about you, on Quora, and various other forums. How you are changing the culture at PayPal. This was enough to give me and my fellow citizens a glimmer of hope, that maybe you will honestly look at our case and communicate with us to help a dream become a reality… of having PayPal in Pakistan.

My credentials on Quora will testify that I am reasonably versed in Money & Payment Systems. I am cognisant that institutions like yours look acutely at issues like AML, KYC and other Legal & Compliance hurdles. I want to assure you, the financial regulator in Pakistan, i.e. State Bank of Pakistan will work with you to address your concerns (if any).

To the best of my knowledge nothing prevents PayPal (from a regulatory, technology or legal point of view from Pakistan’s side) for PayPal to operate here. The $64 Million question is – Why doesn’t PayPal operate here in Pakistan then?

If there are concerns within PayPal of terrorist funding, etc., then please note, that this is an issue globally not just in Pakistan.

Drug and Terrorist Financing issues are more prevalent in the West than in Pakistan (I can provide you various reports and references as published by the Senate Committees in the US and other US based institutions). Since the mechanism of PayPal payments is electronic, governed, KYC’d at both ends and monitored, there exists (in my opinion) an operable framework by which you can operate here and work with the relevant financial regulators and lawmakers to have PayPal officially launched and covered in Pakistan.

In summary, I would request you to open a dialogue, to ascertain the ground realities in Pakistan vis-a-vis to Factually Incorrect Information. I have in the past cited my willingness to help, providing information or getting PayPal connected to Banks, regulators, whomsoever you would like to meet and/or talk to. I am, in no way proposing or advocating a ‘role’ for myself – my intention is just to help you connect with the right people/institutions.

I hope you will give this issue of PayPal not being in Pakistan a genuine effort to reassess our case. I am hopeful that in PayPal’s point of view, Pakistan’s time has come to join the list of countries where PayPal is offered.

You may contact me via faisal @ ibfsinc.com or alternatively, may inbox me on Quora.

Best Regards,

Faisal Khan.

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


  • Muhammad Anwar Khan, Quetta

    Excellent work Faisal Khan. Presented the case well with solid arguments & statistics.

  • Kudos to Faisal Khan for doing this effort on behalf of All Pakistani Bloggers and Freelancers. Dil se Thank You :)

    • atomic archer

      What is so great about this letter. It would been better had someone created a local solution for the problem. Begging for over ten yrs for a firm to come to you is just shameful.

      • Shahid Saleem

        There is a lot of money to make in this area (online p2p payments). Do you really believe no one else tried to make it in the past ten years???

        It is OUR OWN GOVERNMENT POLICIES especially State Bank who make it hard.

        • atomic archer

          Firstly, it is not impossible. Electronic payments have come a long way in the past 10 years in Pakistan, i suggest reading newspapers they are a “really” good way to stay in touch with the world. Also do you “really believe” that they will let payPal do it if they choose to enter Pak after his shamful letter? And yes SBP has issues with unregulated outflow of USD but has never had issues with any kind of inflow. With mobile payments the local transaction scene is already picking up, BUT for international settlements, due to money laundering, terrorist funding etc payPal will want to avaoid emabrassment and stay away from this market.

          • Shahid Saleem

            I am not concerned with whether it is possible or not. The fact that NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO IT shows that it isn’t possible. The fact that EVERYONE HAS SEEN Paypal and Moneybookers and other sites and yet has been unable to do it in Pakistan, again, shows that it is not possible.

            Did you ever used Amaana.pk? It was a local solution. It was on Jehan Ara’s blog. It tried. It died.

            There is nothing shameful about his letter. You speak as if asking a company to come to Pakistan is shameful, then I ask you, how did all the foreign companies come here? Do you really believe no one in Pakistan tried to invite them? WOW. If your ignorance is not shameful, IT SHOULD BE.

    • Tania

      Perhaps PayPal doesn’t reply because this guy looks like a scary child serial killer or shady underworld crook? http://www.faisalkhan.com/about-me/ LOL… I mean I wouldn’t want to take anything seriously from a some weirdo dude who thinks a smoking mugshot in a goatee makes him ‘cool’… jeez, may be he needs to make himself a little presentable first then write perhaps? :)

      • Bhikaari

        Exactly what i want to say …

      • Shahan04

        Oh my god. Just because he is dressed so doesn’t mean we should not give importance to his words. If Tania is ugly, we should not give importance to what she says, how stupid.

      • Wow what an a grade douche-bag.

      • shahab

        hehe, he changed his pic now! tania you broke his heart!! :D

    • Tania

      Perhaps PayPal doesn’t reply because this guy looks like a scary
      child serial killer or shady underworld crook?
      http://www.faisalkhan.com/about-me/ LOL…
      I mean I wouldn’t want to take anything seriously from a some weirdo
      dude who thinks a smoking mugshot in a goatee makes him ‘cool’… jeez,
      may be he needs to make himself a little presentable first then write
      perhaps? :)

  • mohsin khawaja

    No doubt if PayPal starts providing its services in Pakistan – it will be a great a convenience. But we should understand that if PayPal is continually refusing to start operations in Pakistan then instead of begging to it – we should focus on the alternatives.
    Infact PayPal is no silver bullet – PayPal users have severe complains every now and then – because the company freezes (blocks etc.) accounts on its own free will and has very tough policies.
    And I do not agree that “Drug and Terrorist Financing” is the issue – because India has also number of problems like “Drugs, fraudulent transactions, money laundering etc – yet the service is active there.
    I think it is the typical US bias against Muslim countries in general and Pakistan in particular.
    There are a number of alternatives and we should adopt those.
    However, it is all my personal opinion and mean no disrespect to anyone’s opinion or efforts.

    • Shahid Saleem

      You say:

      I think it is the typical US bias against Muslim countries in general and Pakistan in particular.

      Then I say: you’re not paying attention. If it is a bias, then why is paypal in other Muslim countries (Arab and non-Arab)?

      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYES AND ACTUALLY SEE THE REALITY INSTEAD OF IMAGINING CONSPIRACIES AGAINST US.

      If there is a bias against Pakistan, it is probably only because of our support for Afghan Taliban and our atomic infrastructure We cannot do anything about the bombs, but we should at least stop supporting people who drive over the border, murder people, then drive back and live in peace.

      • Salman Abbas

        Its also ridiculous that the nazis who killed hundreds of people in Mumbai are still allowed to do whatever they want in this country. (Laskar-e-Tayba/Dawa/Flah-e-Insaniat/Some-new-name-to-avoid-ban)

        • Salman Abbas

          Sectist ____s like you should be hanged first. Oh and fyi Dawa is strictly wahabi.

      • umair

        yes you are right sir.. but, if you have experience with these countries.. you can easily understand Paypal is not allowing full features in arab countries also… like Saudi Arab, Riaz, Qatar etc… you can not have their master card, you can’t load payments directly from your bank.. lots of other problems.

        Yes, it is right. we should adopt alternative payment methods. Because you can’t rely your business on Paypal because of their strict rules and its also true that they not care of your business.

  • Copper

    This could be seen as an opportunity instead of a loss. We already have now widely used mobile payments, providing an api can help to integrate into websites, it will happen as more online stores comes up

  • Jawad Bakhar

    “Our frend Faisal Khan has been”… spelling of “friend”

  • AtiRiz

    My company collected almost a Million dollar through Paypal last year for providing services to international clients. It could only be made possible for my brother residing in UK. We were a very small company, and grown large by providing services and accepting payments by PayPal. PayPal in Pakistan can change the face of IT industry and overall economy of Pakistan.

  • Hassan Khan Khalil

    It is worth mentioning here that lots of Banks in Pakistan are now offering Internet banking and they can be easily integrated with Paypal.

  • Sharjeel

    Excellent work really appreciate spreading a righteous demand on behalf for all Pakistanis.

  • Imran Hunzai

    Correction: our friend Faisal Khan not frend. Looks like you have been texting a lot, lately :D

  • Khaqan Abbasi

    Open Letter are Never Taken Seriously , The Biggest Problem is Money Laundering in Pakistan , Indian Government Made Effort to Sustain PayPal in India, By allowing direct transfers to bank Accounts , and the Tax goes to Government, Why Can’t Our Government do this. So Concentrate on Pushing the Government Rather than Wasting Time in Writing to Pay Pal , Who Will Never Read This or take it seriously

  • Quratulain Habib

    I asked David Marcus and Max Levchin to answer this question on Quora as well. No answer. Two days ago, I tried to pay via PayPal for goods being purchased in the UK being shipped to Pakistan. PayPal simply declined the transaction stating ‘PayPal does not allow any transactions for the country you have specified’.

    I was so upset at this!

  • Faheem Siddiqui

    I appreciate your job brother. Although I have already US Verified PayPal account but I also want this service properly in Pakistan.. I am sure that all other Pakistani (hope a lot in number those have PayPal accounts from different countries) have wished to start PayPal service properly in Pakistan….. We all are waiting for Pakistan name in countries list of PayPal Sign Up Page.

  • Desi

    I am sure Pakistani gov. not allowing PAYPAL to do business. It has nothing to do with PAYPAL not willing to do business in PK

    • Guest147

      It’d be correct, if you say, the gov. is not interested to correct the structure and “Afsar Shahi” culture of our banking.

  • mubashir

    good work… appreciated. i hope paypal will listen to this

    • Babo raoo

      dream Onnnnnn my friend ! i had made a similar effort 3 years ago and their reply was they cannot come to Pak due to our banking system !

  • moxet

    Indeed, a good and progressive step!

  • VMakerHost.Com

    Well as you say in admin note (“online businesses aren’t contributing anything to national development”) i don’t agree :)
    pplz are doing lot but not as if paypal at here :) but they do even i have 2ATM cards 1from 2cheakout 1from paypal every month we bring good amount into pakistan economy :)

  • Aamir Pervaiz

    if some how you publish this letter on big international blogs like techcrunch etc then maybe it come into light

    by posting this letter on Pakistani blogs nothing happens

  • Sharjeel Minhas

    Lets make our own online payment system. I am not kidding, i fully understand what i am saying. If someone wants to join email me, im going to go ahead with it anyway..

    • Muhammed Ovais Alam

      Seriously? Why everyone is NOT laughing?

    • Salman Abbas

      Am a programmer who might be interested in doing that but I am afraid we will have to consult lawyers and stuff before making something like that. No?

    • xain

      and then we post some adsense ads on our that newly developed payment gateway :P

    • fksysko

      Have u put aside 10% of Mr. Ten Percent?? If not then do it first before starting anything creative in pakistan.

  • DesiRus

    Paypal’s reason is really simple on not showing up Pakistan – Pakistan and Nigeria are top in CC on-line fraud! Why I know this cause I have seen the stats myself. A decade ago, I worked in Fraud Prevention department of top eCommerce solution provider, we had IP of Pakistan blocked in our system so orders were never placed.

  • Nabeel

    Hats off to you Faisal :-)

    You are doing a really great job…

  • tremendous efforts… lets hope for the best

  • jawad zaib

    great letter from faisal khan and a big salute to him for his effort and pay pal should start their service as soon as possible because Pakistan is a huge market for online business and is going to expand more in the coming years…

  • Umar Satti

    he should send same letter every week

    • Spunky

      lol… buhat alaa jnaab :D

  • There are many a online systems(e-commerce stores) that does not accept local payment solutions and paypal is the only source.

  • Muhammad Asif Ali

    I am also waiting for the Paypal to come in Pakistan. But I dont know the actual reasons,
    Seeing this letter, I feel very good that Mr.Faisal is doing his best. I really appreciate his efforts.

  • Rashid Farooq

    Thanks To Faisal Khan. Paypal is necessary for the development of Pakistan. There are a great number of internet users in Pakistan. We Should Start a campaign on social media as well. A few Months ago, I made a facebook page to strengthen this issue. Here is the facebook page link. Please Join it and give your strong comments.

    https://www.facebook.com/StartPaypalinPakistan

  • Ahsan Bhai

    Go to paypal(dot)com

    In the bottom of paypal website click “contact us” > “Send us” a question by email > click on “continue” under the heading “Unable to log in? >> Topic “My Account” Subtopic “Opening a Paypal account”

    If you Want Paypal in Pakistan then every Online Pakistani Send them a berief Email to Paypal.

    I have Just receive this response from Paypal

    “Thank you for contacting PayPal regarding opening an account . I am very pleased to take this opportunity to resolve your issue today.

    We’d like nothing more than to have you as a PayPal customer. Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer services in Pakistan. We currently support services in 190 countries and regions worldwide, and though we can’t provide an exact date for coming to your region, we can promise you we’re working hard to get there”

  • Asif Jafri

    I appreciate the fact that someone is writing to Paypal and putting efforts for Pakistani Developers to play their part in global development….however, we don’t have local system where people can post their IT jobs online and pay developers online.. now i am talking about completely local stuff that we don’t have to beg any one…we have thousands of SMEs looking for development and they dont know where to go and find people locally…neither local developers know local online jobs…so here is some food for thought..:)

  • Humair

    Once I sent e-mail to paypal and asked for reason. They replied me about it within 24 hours. They say the are looking for extending business in Pakistan and soon they will start.

  • Fahad

    why doesn’t microsoft launches xbox officially in pakistan? why doesn’t apple iphone launches officially in Pakistan? Bcz Pakistan is not their market and they are not interested in creating this market either. I personally think it is good that Paypal is not in Pakistan.

  • Shoaib

    Thanks to Fasial Khan Who is doing this for all Pakistanis.
    By this it is easy to me to get my pay from online job.
    This also helps our people to start online work and get a handsome
    pay at home.
    This is a nice step
    My prayers are with you…………
    BEST OF LUCK
    GOD BESS YOU

  • M A Hameed

    The US Government behind preventing PayPal from coming to Pakistan. It is also behind Amazon not offering Kindle service in Pakistan. Even National Geographic does not allow us to pay for subscription online. The reason is that the US considers our country a security risk. Write to the US embassy, Secretary of State, even White House, asking t hem not to treat us countries like North Korea and Iran.

  • Great Job Faisal Khan. just thinking of PayPal in Pakistan gives me a feel where lots of my problems are streamlined and easy for me to deal with them. then again it is just me, just imagine how much helpful it will be for those who have huge and very frequent transactions to make. after all pay-pall will also get benefit out of it.

  • First of all, Faisal should be commended for keeping at it for the last 10 years. Perseverance does win in the end. However we need to be persevering in the right direction for it to yield results.

    The reason his efforts have failed to bear fruit as yet are manifold, some having to do with him, some beyond his control:

    1. He has been doing it as a lone crusader instead of making concerted efforts in
    collaboration with a number of people like him. Sure there have been other people who have written to Paypal in protest but they’re all scattered. In order to make Paypal sit up and take notice, Faisal will have to create a united platform with people like Jehan Ara, Rabia Garib, Badar Khushnood, Jawwad Karim etc. When all these people push forward, it is more likely that Paypal will at least pay attention to these letters.

    2. Paypal not coming to Pakistan has nothing to do with Zionist evil designs and US
    government forbidding them to do it. That’s just a figment of our own imagination that our country is so sacred that anti-Islamic forces are out to break us. First we’ll have to exhibit a semblance of Islamic principles in action for us to be taken seriously as Muslims.

    3. Even State Bank’s stringent regulations are not a deal-breaker for Paypal although
    they may prove a bit cumbersome once Paypal does decide to make the move.

    4. The main reason is the REVENUE. What revenue will Pakistan generate compared to their business as a whole? Remember that Youtube has been banned here for more than three months and yet they haven’t done anything about it. Facebook was banned a couple of years ago similarly and they didn’t give a damn either. That’s because Pakistan contributes so little to their overall revenue that even if it stops, it doesn’t affect their bottom-line.

    5. Just look at Google. Badar Khushnood has been spearheading Google and its good
    gestures in Pakistan for the last 8 years, and yet even he has been unable to
    get them to open a single office in Pakistan when he’s supposed to be the
    official Google Representative in Pakistan. There are three Google offices in
    India because India generates a hell of a revenue for them than us. It’s
    business, nothing personal or religious.

    6. Finally, if Faisal or someone else is to persuade Paypal to land in Pakistan, that
    person will have to show them the volume generated by internet marketers in
    Pakistan and the monetary benefit to Paypal in numbers instead of showing that
    Pakistan’s economy is bigger than that of Peru, Lima, Addis Abbaba and what not
    combined. Just because Pakistan’s economy is bigger or there are more ATMs and
    internet connections here doesn’t necessarily translate into more moolah for
    Paypal.

  • Faisal Basra

    some people asked me how can an internet payment gateway work in Pakistan. Here is response.

    ——

    As per regulation the business model needs a Bank. Either Leading the
    Show or Being at the back but it has to be declared partner in any
    payment processing venture.

    Anything else would be illegal.

    A parallel Legal example would be

    1)Rozgar Microfinance Bank and Ufone relationship where Ufone acquired Rozgar Bank.

    2)Or Zong/China Mobile and Askari Bank Relationship.

    In both cases telcos and Banks teamed up to offer microfinance services.

    So you would need a Pakistani Bank to commit to with say, your version
    of Authorized.net or some similar entity(may be software company etc)

    The Downside(as i see it) is:

    A) The rate of return on Treasury bill is a great respite in these uncertain times

    The Risk is

    B) Starting an internet merchant acquiring business which even in the best of 1st world is not as profitable.

    The Challenge is should you choose to accept is:

    Make the Bank See the light at the end of the tunnel that B is good Over A in long term business growth.

    Just my 2 cents

    Cheers

    By Asif Hameed 穆友谅

  • Anonymous Khan

    I doubt that the CEO of PayPal will ever reply but anyways the way this letter is wrote is quite amazing!! might help him realize how much money he can generate by just bringing PayPal in Pakistan

  • Anonymous Khan

    Popoal most goat in pokistpn becoz we boy thpnga very much ve lioke kk

  • Sadia Komal

    Weldone Faisal khan, please approach to government of pakistan, or arrange a strike against paypal, we are with you.

  • Sadia Komal

    Weldone Faisal khan, please approach to government of pakistan, or arrange a strike against paypal, we are with you.

  • Mian

    Excellent and practical effort on behalf of Pakistani nation

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  • Mudaber

    paypal should hear to Pakistani people. They never give response to Pakistani people

  • voice-of-pakistani

    WHO IS PAYPAL?
    why u need paypal?
    u have 180 M people then y u need paypal?
    u are pakistani …. u are PAKISTAN then y u need paypal?
    is paypal one and only solution online payments /receipts ?
    y u didnt think abt ur own online payment method ? is paypal the only team in the world ?
    my pakistani bros u have every thing please unite urself share ur knowledge n make ur own world famous alternative paypal solution . y u are begging these juses…for help..

    Hazrat Qauid e azam Hazrat Alama M iqbal are watching u …
    unity faith and determination hardworking and beliv in ALLAH gives u every thing
    …..
    discuss with ur friends make ur team and effort for success ….
    u didnt need paypal u need urself … think abt u …think abt pakistan….
    i salute u atta bhai and propakistani team please pakistani bros follow atta bhai cos nothing is impossible.
    please dont begg for decade per dacade make ur own aaj se 10 saal pehly kuch bnaya hota aaj kaahan hota?
    atleast pakistan ki hadd tak bna du jis ki services all over pakistan main hon pher khud tum se paypal ne rabita na kia tuh kehna…
    (tip: jin k paas knowledge hai skills hain wo sb unite ho kr payment solution bnao SBP ya kisi pakistani bank se joint venture krlo paisy jor lo apas main and ager paypal k bin guzara e nai tuh aik kaam kro koi agent betha lo koi company jo agay linking paypal se jor le … koi tuh solution nikalo kb tak paypal ko roty raho gy)