As Pakistan adopts digital payments, the financial sector has been abuzz with new players looking to enter the space.
According to State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) first quarterly Payment Systems Review (PSR) report, Pakistan Real-time Interbank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM) recorded a total of 1.1 million transactions amounting to Rs159.1 trillion during the first quarter (July-Sep) of this fiscal year (FY22). These transactions, in terms of value, are around 7 percent higher than the preceding quarter (April-June FY21), in which Rs 148 trillion worth of transactions were registered.
Amid the development, it comes as no surprise that the list of players who have applied for Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) has grown.
EMIs, as the word suggests, “are entities that offer innovative, user-friendly and cost-effective, low-value digital payment instruments like wallets, prepaid cards, and contactless payment instruments,” as per the SBP definition.
Adoption in digital payments has come hand-in-hand with the push for regulations that were issued by the SBP for EMIs in 2019.
Under these regulations, prospective EMI applicants are granted a licence in three stages — In-Principle Approval (IPA), approval for Commencement of Pilot Operations, and the Final Approval.
Since then, 10 EMIs have received at least in-principle approval by the SBP with Careem Pay being the latest.
Business Recorder looks at the list, available with the SBP, to see who are the other players.
The fintech, which has a ‘Live’ status, got the final approval from the SBP back in August 2021 after a year-long pilot and inspection by the SBP.
Backed by sponsors of the Lakson Group – a conglomerate in Pakistan with business interests in the FMCG, media, and asset management sectors – NayaPay currently offers consumers a digital wallet with Visa debit cards for everyday payments.
Finja, which defines itself as a new age financial services platform for professionals, merchants and SME businesses, is the second EMI in Pakistan with a ‘Live’ status.
It was granted the final approval for the EMI licence in September 2021. The company had earlier become the first fintech to receive in-principle approval for this licence on April 9, 2020 from the SBP.
CMPECC Limited of Zong is the third EMI with a ‘Live’ staus. The company received its final approval to operate earlier this year in March.
SadaTech Pakistan Pvt. Ltd
SadaTech, or more commonly SadaPay, was granted pilot approval by the SBP back in December 2020. SadaPay, which is partnering with payment giant MasterCard to bring modern financial services to Pakistan, offers an E-money wallet for consumers and freelancers.
TAG is a mobile application that allows its users to open mobile wallets and get debit cards. The app’s users can use it to perform online transactions such as money transfers, bill payments and mobile top-up payments with a touch.
The startup was granted pilot approval by the SBP in August 2021, after receiving in-principal approval from the central bank in November 2020.
Wemsol Pvt Limited
Founded in 2011, Wemsol operates as a payment and technology service provider for the financial and retail sector. It was granted pilot approval by the SBP on July 8, 2020.
The company offers an E-money wallet and a payment gateway for consumers and merchants.
A subsidiary of Systems Limited, the company was granted in-principle approval under regulations for EMI from SBP back in January 2020. The company offers an E-money wallet service for consumers and merchants.
Akhtar Fuiou Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
A partnership between Pakistan’s Akhtar Group and China's Fuiou Pay, the fintech received SBP in-principle approval for EMI license on May 07, 2021.
The company aims to change the way financial transactions are carried out in Pakistan with the launch of an e-wallet to digitise payroll processing in industries, facilitate remittances through the wallet and provisioning of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals for processing digital payments.
Hubpay Pvt. Ltd
Hubpay, a UAE based money services provider, is a digital wallet that lets you make money transfers and payments from the UAE to Asia.
The fintech was granted in-principle approval by the State Bank on February 02, 2022.
Careem Payment Solutions
Careem Pay, a fintech affiliate of Careem, was the latest to be granted in-principle approval of the SBP for an EMI licence last month, marking a step towards the extension of services beyond its own ecosystem.