After 3G/4G, Pakistan Now Needs an Online Payment Gateway

Around four years or so ago I had written this piece titled: “Why Does a Pakistani Website Earn 32 Times Lesser than any American Counterpart?

In this post I explained that why e-commerce infrastructure is important and how it could boost Pakistan’s economy in general and online businesses in specific.

This e-commerce infrastructure — in layman’s language — includes following things:

  • A way for businesses to open merchant accounts with local banks
  • A way for them to accept credit cards payments on their online websites
  • A way for these businesses to transfer online revenues (collected through credit cards) to their local bank accounts

Unfortunately, my whole article — written four years ago — is still valid for almost all things that I discussed then. During all this time the market demand for online payment gateway has only increased many folds. Just look at the number and magnitude of online stores and other online businesses that we have in Pakistan and imagine that they all have to rely on “Cash on Delivery” for their payments, its a pity.

There are some exceptions, I agree but such exceptions are using their (foreign based) parent groups that allow them to accept credit cards; otherwise “Cash on Delivery” is ruling Pakistan’s e-commerce industry as of today.

Branch-less banking solutions is one way of handling the payments but hassle involved in the process and the transaction charges totally kill the idea of employing mobile financial solutions for your online store.

Now let’s have a look at following stats to give you an idea that how badly we need an online payment gateway:

  • Pakistan has over 140 Million phone subscribers
  • Three 3G and two 4G operators (considering Warid is set to start operations in few weeks)
  • Over 4 million 3G users (with-in first six months of 3G operations)
  • Over 30 million internet users
  • Pakistanis Ranks in top five nations for online work on various freelanceing websites
  • Foreign investment valuing millions of dollars for Pakistan focused ecommerce portals
  • Pakistani startups making their way to global markets

This all depicts that market is over-ready for an online payment gateway and we must be provided one working, easily available, feasible and fully featured payment gateway for a market that can turn this current million dollar ecommerce business in to a multi billion dollar industry.

This online payment gateway is part of ecosystem that I recently talked about. This is how your communication networks (such as 3G and 4G) can get you 900,000 job offerings and trillions of rupees to be added to GDP of the country.

We hope that Ministry of IT and PTA have similar thoughts in mind and they are working on something to get us a payment gateway that will help our freelancers to get the top dollars from foreign clients directly into their local accounts without any hassle.

Please note: For records, there are three payment gateways in Pakistan, but getting services from them is next to impossible for a mid-sized business/startups. I will soon talk about these currently available payment gateways and why they are not designed for mid-scale businesses or for common persons, startups, individuals. Keep watching this space for more on the topic.

For now, let us urge public and private sector authorities, organizations and associations to look into the matter and do something positive for the making of next multi-billion dollar industry in Pakistan.

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