SBP Launches Online Payment System For Merchants On Raast

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has unveiled a new online person-to-merchant (P2M) payment system.

This system is designed to facilitate merchants in receiving immediate payments from customers through their mobile phones.

It is a key component of the Raast instant payment platform and is slated for a formal launch in the coming weeks, with six entities already integrated into this innovative payment ecosystem.

“I am glad to share that the third use case P2M has also been deployed since September 3, a couple of weeks back, and I am glad to share that six entities have already been onboarded on P2M,” stated Qazi Shoaib Ahmad, Director of the Payment Systems Policy & Oversight Department at SBP speaking at the 21st conference on ‘Future Banking Summit 2023.

Ahmad emphasized the transformative potential of P2M within the industry, noting that the six entities participating in this initiative are Bank Alfalah, MCB Bank, Allied Bank, JS Bank, Easypaisa, and 1Link.

The SBP had previously launched person-to-person (P2P) and bulk payment transfers on the Raast platform, and it is actively working to onboard more banks onto the P2M journey, with some in the pilot stages, he added.

“We believe that this is the way forward and QR payment will be a game changer. It would be the most useful utility for the unbanked population,” added Ahmad. The SBP has also established standards for interoperable QR codes, which are an integral part of the P2P and P2M use cases within the Raast platform.

Ahmad underscored the promising start of Raast adoption by presenting remarkable statistics. To date, Raast boasts a registration of over 32 million account holders and has effectively facilitated in excess of 225 million transactions, totaling an impressive Rs. 4.6 trillion.

In addition to its efforts in digital payments, the SBP is actively exploring the global landscape of digital currencies. This exploration may lay the groundwork for the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the future. 

“We are working on two initiatives. One is in-house and the other is…we are working with an international vendor. So we are basically working on the model for predicting the frauds. We are trying to understand the different dimensions of CBDC. So we are creating this path quite cautiously. The SBP has also taken industry consultation on this front especially. So that is how the State Bank is approaching CDBC ” added Ahmad.

Once developed, this model will be integrated into the Raast platform to enhance customer protection against potential fraud. Furthermore, Ahmad highlighted the SBP’s interest in blockchain technology and its potential role in CBDC development.

He also said that the SBP is collaborating with international financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to gain insights into various dimensions of CBDC.

  • Great thanks so much for me as soon as possible to get the best regards Sir.

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