KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has launched an interoperable Raast Person to Merchant (P2M) service to facilitate digital payment acceptance for merchants and businesses.
The ‘P2M’ has been launched as a part of Raast Implementation Project and this will enable payment acceptance by businesses using Quick Response (QR) Codes, Raast Alias, IBAN and Request to Pay (RTP). The SBP has already shared technical specifications with concerned teams of the Regulated Entities (REs).
The Raast P2M service is set to accelerate the pace of digitization of merchant and business transactions in Pakistan. Accordingly, it has been decided that all REs will enable the required capabilities for processing P2M transactions via their delivery channels including mobile apps, internet banking portals and USSD channels by 1st March 2024.
To ensure maximum adoption of digital payment services through Raast P2M Service, all REs have been asked to design efficient, seamless and easy to use customer interfaces and not charge any fee from their customers paying for their transactions.
The REs will not restrict the number and amount of transactions performed by their customers unless there are genuine fraud/cyber security/AML related concerns.
REs will provide instant transaction confirmation or rejection notification to customers and will also ensure that account statements available for customers on digital channels (apps/internet portals) are updated in real time.
Raast Merchant Service Providers (MSPs) have been asked to ensure onboard businesses including but not limited to merchants, aggregators, marketplaces and billers, after conducting due diligence in line with the relevant laws and regulations and deploy QR codes in line with specifications or instructions issued by SBP.
Enable merchants to accept or reject the request for refunds/returns of a transaction initiated by the customer using MSP’s provided Raast merchant interface.
Ensure that merchants receive payment confirmation/rejection advice immediately after receiving such advice from Raast. Further, they shall provide real time payment confirmation.
Ensure that funds are credited into merchant accounts on real time basis or as per the timelines agreed with merchants and third parties.
Further, the MSPs may also charge a reasonable fee from merchants for the services provided; however, they are encouraged to initially waive off such charges to promote merchant adoption.
MSP may enter into agreements with third parties offering billing/invoicing services over Raast merchant service. Further, MSPs may embed Raast merchant services for check out purposes into their partner apps. However, they will have to comply with all relevant SBP regulations as issued from time to time.
They can make also agreement with other REs to offer specialized services/packages/discounts/loyalty programs aimed at accelerating the adoption of Raast merchant services.
The SBP has also asked MSPs to enable necessary integrations with Raast P2M and enable Raast payment acceptance via P2M at their respective merchant locations and ecommerce checkouts. Other REs desirous of becoming Raast Merchant Service Providers (MSP) will intimate SBP’s Digital Innovation & Settlements Department (DI&SD) and complete necessary technical requirements for integrating with Raast.
The SBP has said that all REs shall ensure that billers/bill-aggregators already on-boarded by them are also enabled to accept payments via Raast RTP by March 31, 2024.
All REs including MSPs shall take necessary measures for creating awareness about Raast Merchant Services and promoting its adoption. This may include designing and launching media and on ground campaigns, promotional activities and strategic alliances
The SBP has warned that non-compliance of the Raast related instructions shall attract punitive action under the relevant provisions of the Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 2007.
All REs are also required to submit the status of compliance of these directives to SBP on or before 1st April, 2024.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023