The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has launched an interoperable Raast P2M service to facilitate digital payment acceptance for merchants and businesses, according to a circular notification issued by SBP to all the Regulated Entities (REs).
The Raast P2M service is part of the Raast implementation project, which aims to create a fast, secure, and inclusive payment system in Pakistan. The service enables customers to pay for their purchases using various modes such as Request to Pay (RTP) Now and Later, IBAN, Merchant Alias, and Static and Dynamic QR codes.
The SBP has directed all REs to enable the following capabilities for processing P2M transactions via their delivery channels including mobile apps, internet banking portals, and USSD channels by March 01, 2024:
- Read/scan Raast P2M QR codes in line with DI&SD’s Circular Letter No. 1 dated March 02, 2022 and related specifications/instructions issued by SBP.
- Process Request to Pay (Now/Later) transactions initiated by merchants or third parties.
- Enable Push Payments to merchant Raast Aliases and IBANs.
- Enable customers to initiate the request for returns/refunds through the Raast provided option.
The SBP has also instructed all REs to design efficient, seamless and easy-to-use customer interfaces, and not to charge any fee from their customers paying for their transactions.
Moreover, REs are required to provide instant transaction confirmation or rejection advice, and update the account statements available for customers on digital channels in real-time.
The circular notification also outlines the roles and responsibilities of Raast Merchant Service Providers (MSPs), which are the REs that onboard businesses including but not limited to merchants, aggregators, marketplaces and billers, after conducting due diligence in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
The MSPs are responsible for deploying QR codes, enabling the Raast payment acceptance modes, facilitating the refunds/returns of transactions, ensuring that merchants receive payment confirmation/rejection advice and funds on real-time basis or as per the agreed timelines, providing efficient, convenient and user-friendly check-out services and mobile apps/devices, devising comprehensive dispute resolution, liability and risk management frameworks, taking all possible steps to prevent the loss of customer data and funds due to cyber-security threats, preventing fraud and misuse of Raast P2M Service, and ensuring that customers are not charged any fee on their purchases by merchants or third parties.
The MSPs are also allowed to charge a reasonable fee from merchants to co-brand their check-out service with Raast P2M Service and enter into agreements with third parties offering billing/invoicing services.
Furthermore, MSPs may embed Raast merchant services for checkout purposes into their partner apps, subject to compliance with all relevant SBP regulations.
The SBP has also advised that all REs shall ensure that billers/bill-aggregators already onboarded by them are also enabled to accept payments via Raast RTP by March 31, 2024.
The SBP has warned that non-compliance with the Raast-related instructions shall attract punitive action under the relevant provisions of the Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 2007. It has also asked all REs to submit the status of compliance with this circular duly signed by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to this department on or before April 01, 2024.