Karandaaz to help SBP set up micropayment platform

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On the second day of the two-day Pakistan Innovative Finance Forum, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Karandaaz signed an agreement for the implementation of a ‘micropayment gateway’, which is part of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

The agreement was signed by Karandaaz CEO Ali Sarfraz and SBP Payment Systems Department Head Syed Sohail Javvad. The signing was witnessed by Queen Maxima of Netherlands, Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar, SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir, Karandaaz Chairperson Dr Shamshad Akhtar and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Programme Officer Syed Ali Mahmood.

Through this agreement, Karandaaz, with funding from BMGF, will support SBP to put in place a digital payment platform based on modern technology making real-time interoperability of smaller digital transfers possible.

Speaking of the occasion, Queen Maxima, who is visiting Pakistan in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), stressed, “It is encouraging that SBP is committed to setting up a micropayment platform which all providers and government entities will be required to join in 2020. The next steps in designing the appropriate governance structure, scheme rules, initial use cases, and pricing will be critical for the platforms to succeed and to have an impact. I encourage you all to engage with the industry working group led by the SBP and also to discuss and provide your inputs on the design.”

In his address, Karandaaz Chairperson Dr Shamshad Akhtar said, “In Pakistan, around 50pc of the adult population, mostly women, lack access to formal financial services. Most households resort to risky, inefficient, and expensive informal channels to fulfil their financial needs. Immediate clearance of transactions will keep the system-cost low and providers would contribute data to a shared service, ensuring all users and transactions are legitimate and risk-free.”

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