The frustration of not having access to a payment processing system

February 19, 2009 at 7:02 am 15 comments

This debate, regarding the problems faced by an online business because of a lack of facilities like Paypal being available in Pakistan, went on for a while and my poor flip video ran out of space. 😦 Sorry Talha. You had just started to tell us something. Would you write it down here instead?

As you can see, the frustration that Gohar and other young people face due to facilities not being provided because Pakistan is a “sensitive” place creates a few unique challenges that require creative temporary solutions. This is needed until we can get someone – Paypal, State Bank of Pakistan, Citibank – to hear our voices and agree to making a payment processing system available for young IT businesses to be able to function.

Faisal Khan, CEO of Net Access, has written to Paypal several times to ask why countries in Africa and elsewhere have access to Paypal and Pakistan does not. He is still waiting for an answer. Fahd Bangash has been trying to get approval for Amaana to move ahead with its services here, but is still waiting for State Bank approval.

This video provides no answers, but I wanted it out there, so that people could see how big the problem is, for an entrepreneur wanting to sell his products online, is humungous.

Entry filed under: Posts.

It is important to identify a need – market analysis is not really essential Payment Gateway on the way!

15 Comments Add your own

  • The frustration of not having access to a payment processing system…

    This debate, regarding the problems faced by an …

  • […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

  • 3. Jehan  |  February 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    A little bird told me that there is every likelihood that PTCL will very soon be launching a Web Payment Gateway in partnership with Wateen.

    There are also rumours that the new Governor State Bank has sent an internal memo asking for an explanation on why the SBP has been dragging its feet vis-a-vis the Electronic Commerce payment gateways. A light at the end of the tunnel? Let us hope so.

  • 4. mariaumar  |  February 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Not having PayPal is such a huge drawback for us. I can speak from the point of view of a content writer serving international clients. I can only work through outsourcing websites like oDesk and Elance just because getting a client independently means getting paid viaPayPal (so far my applications have been rejected just ’cause og this “slight” snag) and we of course don’t have that here. Why? :S

  • 5. Owais  |  February 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Don’t worry Pakistan will have gateways very soon. There are certain commercial considerations that needed to be addressed by the market and I think we are almost there.

  • 6. Obaid Ahmed  |  February 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Very interesting.. I think the payment gateway will definitely give our e-commerce the boost that it badly needs.. ppl being able to shop online in Pakistan, safely and securely, will definitely give us the edge.

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  • 8. Syed Talha Izhar  |  February 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I just told Gohar that there are more ways than just asking Paypal and other gateways to come to Pakistan.

    If he is catering to the foreign market he can ask Habib Bank to open an account at New York Branch and link it to his Paypal Account and wire the money from New York Branch to his local Habib Bank account whenever he needs it. I think this is pretty much workable, I haven’t tried it but have been thinking of doing this. I have also asked him if he doesn’t get any help from HBL he can email me I will get someone to open an account for him which he can operate from Pakistan.

  • 9. Farzal  |  February 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    mariaumar & others

    There are 2 opportunities.

    One is the cross-border; where paypal and similar services are household names and Pakistani entrepreneurs (including small exporters) would love to be able to access payments over them.

    Second, which we feel is even bigger, is the local opportunity. We have 10-17 Million population of online users. But we have only 19 web-merchants who accept electronic payments, and total processing is about PKR 10 lakh per day. A Store in Saddar does more business on cash every day. Then we have PKR 80 Billion of utility bills being paid in cash every month. you add up these use-cases and opportunities and you realize that $2-$5 billion of electronic payments can happen MONTHLY in Pakistan alone.

    more on

  • 10. Maria Umar  |  February 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks Farzal. That was quite interesting.

    I have a question for everyone here. (I don’t know if I am pushing my luck using this place for answers to my own concerns but I could try 🙂 )

    A niece of mine helps e out with my writing some times. Now this is a kid who got 9 As in O’levels and is currently doing her As. The previous month she decided to do it regularly (3 essays a day) to earn what she thought was easy cash. Anyway, her mother raised this question: Doing an essay for say a maximum of $5 isn’t that a bit too low if you are looking for quality work? Aren’t all (ok then most) of you content writers just filling cyberspace with a whole lot of trash?

    I am confused. What do you guys think? I mean she may have a point there or may be not.

    I have so far had just one client who hired me directly for her website. The rest is just getting an assignment that is already outsourced to another person. So after the assignment has been given to 3 different people and finally reaches me it dwindles down to just $2.5 to $5. I can’t really take a membership with some online library, research for days and then finally write a masterpiece also when time limit is a huge issue.

  • 11. Fahd Bangash  |  February 24, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Thanks Jehan. Should put it in a word to clarify where we are with paymens as an industry. The SBP has done its job in providing regulatory cover for what is needed to get electronic or mobile payments for all of us. The limiting factor is a critical mass of users on the payment network before it is useful for everyone. At amaana we are working to enable payments at a mass consumer level, and fortunately or unfortunately, it is only then that minority use cases like Web checkouts and microfinance repayments will truly benefit from the larger ecosystem in place to enable them. We are thrilled by the extent of the problem!

  • 12. Yasir  |  September 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Hello guyz,, try useing fully supported and functional in pakistan.. i have account and receive payments from my service buyer in moneybooker account… Just demand ur service buyers to pay using moneybookers…

  • 13. Fatima Waheed  |  January 16, 2010 at 5:06 pm


    I was freelancer webdesigner/developer from Lhr. But now i left freelancing only because of not having Paypal here, all of my clients had paypal and they don’t like to pay me using moneybookers and blah blah.

    I have a plan to setup my webdesigning and development business but without paypal i can do nothing.

    This frustration all entrepreneur n freelancers face becoz there is no real alternate of paypal, no doubt 2co can be a good alternate but that is actually not because we can only get payments and they charge 5% fee.

    I agree with Gohar we r just frustrated, going abroad and setting business there and then getting pp account require alot of Money.

    I wish State Bank of Pakistan can hear our voices and make a payment processing system for us.

  • 14. Kashif  |  February 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Well I have been using moneybookers for about 6 months now.. They support Pakistan and are you very cheap.

    You can withdraw money to your local Pakistani Bank by only paying $2.71 fee, which is very less when compared.

    So until paypal landes in Pakistan. Moneybookers is your best alternative.
    To joing Moneybookers go to

    To verify you postal address and bank account, it’s so easy.
    When you want to verify your postal address. They send you a card by post which have some secret code. When you receive it, you then have to enter that code in your account.

    To starters, having your postal address verified is enough. After sometime when your transactions gets more than $1000 in 90 days. THen you have to verify your band account aswell because of many money laundering laws.

    To verify your bank account, I’ll show you a very easy way. Ask your Moneybookers support that you want to verify your bank account manually. They’ll ask you to send them your latest bank statement of the money you that you withdrew from your Moneybookers account.
    Just go to your local bank and ask them about it.

    Thats it, scan that copy and send it over to moneybookers..

    So join to moneybookers now

  • 15. Julia Simpson-Urrutia  |  February 23, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I guess I should not complain about Paypal, living in America. But the fact is I am in the USA and Paypal still is not working for me.


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