SadaPay, a Pakistan-based digital wallet, has worked with Mastercard to encourage adoption without contact in a country that has just begun to mobilize its infrastructure for contactless payments.
National Bank of Pakistan launched contactless debit cards last year, and in March UnionPay launched Huawei Pay with a contactless payment option and QR code. But there is still much work to be done to get Pakistani traders ready for this solution.
New SadaPay participants will use Mastercard to issue cards without contact. It aims to give three million cards over the next five years to the 217 million population of Pakistan, about 100 million of whom do not have bank accounts, according to Global Findex.
Mastercard will also function as a payment processing platform. Fintech will use the ‘Masterpass’ feature to process QR codes, tap to pay from telephone and debit card payments.
The large involvement of the card issuing giant is part of a broader strategy to build a foothold in emerging markets such as Pakistan.
SadaPay founder Brandon Timinsky told us FinTech Futures that fintech originally planned to focus on the $ 5 billion freelance market in Pakistan, helping them receive payments from 45 countries around the world.
Then it will seek to offer with small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) offering to take advantage of the much larger $ 450 billion market.
Asked why now is the right time to launch, Timinsky said in large part because of regulatory reforms in the past year that have seen the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) uniting QR payment standards across the country.
“The mandate of interoperability of QR payments is an important moment in Pakistan,” he said. “This is a perfect regulatory condition, with a group of old competitors.”
This QR payment is an alternative to receiving low-cost payments for Point of Sale (POS) terminals in Pakistan, especially useful for small traders with tight margins.
Last month, Islamabad-based SadaPay was given in principle approval by the SBP for an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. Timinsky said fintech aspires to become a full digital bank, but he is still waiting for regulators to make digital bank licenses.
Timinsky wants to deal with banks that have a “disproportionate value” that uses a debit card, which he says basically has little effect. “Banks charge up to $ 8 for debit cards, which feels like $ 40 in Pakistan,” he said.
“And many of these debit cards don’t even let people shop online. Those who do it, because fraud is a big problem for banks, require customers to call their bank every time they want to make an online purchase. “
Originally from America, Timinsky moved to Pakistan in 2018 and has since formed a heavyweight executive team to form SadaPay. Former Pakistani Finance Secretary Waqar Masood Khan is chairman of the fintech board, while Omer Salimullah – who spent more than 17 years at JS Bank, Meezan Bank and ABN Amro – is the chief operating officer (COO).
Set to focus on the Middle East, Timinsky said SadaPay wanted to be a challenger bank for emerging markets in the region.
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