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The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has granted an approval for commencement of pilot operations of National Institutional Facilitation Technologies' (NIFT) e-Commerce payment gateway called 'NIFT ePay'.

NIFT is the first local account-based "e-Commerce Payment Gateway" to get an approval for the pilot launch under the Payment System Operator/Provider (PSO/PSP) rules.

NIFT ePay's primary focus is to execute interoperable and secure digital commerce payments in Pakistan using details of bank account or wallet. This provides an opportunity to the customers who don't have conventional instruments for digital payments such as Debit or Credit Card to conduct e-commerce transactions directly through their transactional accounts and wallets.

These customers may maintain their account/wallets with any member financial institutions connected to NIFT ePay, which gives these financial institutions an opportunity to offer an interoperable digital payments platform for all their collection mandates through an account-based local payment gateway.

NIFT is an existing PSO/PSP offering nation-wide cheque clearing services to financial organizations across Pakistan. NIFT has been providing consistent services to the financial industry over the past two decades and its now creating a reliable, secure, and interoperable payments system, which enables different digital payments use cases in Pakistan.

For this purpose, NIFT ePay envisions to enhance its gateway to digitize payments for Corporates and governments through its "Contextual Funds Transfer (CFT)" and create interoperability for many other use-cases, while aligning itself with the 'Digital Pakistan' program by Government of Pakistan and the 'National Payment Systems Strategy' and 'MPG' initiatives being undertaken by State Bank of Pakistan.

NIFT has collaborated with TPS for implementing the NIFT ePay's complete technology stack. TPS is a leading payments technology company fostering financial technology ecosystem in the country for accelerating innovation in the financial service landscape.

NIFT ePay's launch is the first step towards creating an inclusive environment which will not only offer fully agnostic aggregation of digital payments methods but will also provide a secure and open access to start-ups, fintechs, retailers, large scale corporates, SMEs and government institutions to digitize their collections use-case, disrupting the digital financial services play in the country.

Speaking on this milestone, Haider Wahab CEO NIFT extended his sincere thanks for the continuous support provided by the SBP throughout our efforts for promoting digital financial services in Pakistan through NIFT ePay.

"I believe that this approval serves as a key step towards promotion of new payments-related use cases resulting in uptake of digital commerce payments in Pakistan," he added.

He said that enabling interoperable payment use cases of PSOs and PSPs will further streamline digital payments landscape in Pakistan. NIFT looks forward to play a contributory role in digitizing payments and digital financial services in Pakistan.

Shahzad Shahid CEO TPS also shared his views on this approval and said that "Digital Pakistan can be built on digital railroads which allow secure, contextual and cost-effective payments by individuals and business directly from account and digital wallets for e-commerce purchases, government services and all other payment needs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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