E-commerce system: Pakistan Visa country head identifies obstacles to growth – Business Recorder

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has yet to realise its full potential in developing its e-commerce system, due to major issues of financial inclusion and literacy, said Kamil Khan, country head, Pakistan Visa.
“Although cash is still prevalent in Pakistan, we have seen a significant shift in the country towards digital commerce. According to our latest Stay Secure consumer survey, nearly two thirds of the consumers surveyed (58 percent) have high levels of confidence in digital payments (contactless, mobile wallets and QR Payments) for shopping in-store and payment on delivery, an increase since the start of the pandemic,” said Khan, while talking to media persons.
Top reasons consumers gave for their trust in contactless/digital payments include convenience (52 percent), innovative way to pay (48 percent), wide acceptance (47 percent), speed (41 percent), and avoiding human touch (38 percent), he added.
Visa believe that a sustainable economic recovery depends on small businesses being able to return to normal and grow and that is why, over the past year, it has focused on making sure small businesses have more tools and cost-effective solutions at their disposal to not only weather the storm but emerge stronger. We are doing this by introducing new programs and resources to digitally empower small businesses and support their business resilience, he added.
Khan said Visa is focused on being a trusted network that drives commerce forward for everyone and has provided 500 million unbanked/underserved people worldwide access to digital payment accounts by 2020 and are continuing the work.
In Pakistan, through our Visa Foundation we recently announced $250,000 in funding to support small and micro businesses (SMBs) in Pakistan. This funding includes grants to programs that provide SMBs with training, support services and access to capital, with a gender inclusive and diverse lens. The local recipient of the grant is Akhuwat, which is the world’s largest interest-free microfinance organization that works to alleviate poverty and empower socially and economically marginalized communities”, he added.
Visa has several products and solutions in the pilot phase that are eager to share with its customers. Our purpose-built facility, Visa Innovation Centre in Dubai – one of the most advanced innovation hubs in the world – will act as a key catalyst to bring these innovative payment solutions to Pakistan, Khan added.
Visa head said that over the last few months, it has been working extensively on promotion of QR, tokenization and solutions for small and micro business. An example of this is our partnership with various banks to launch A R based mobile payment service that enables consumers in Pakistan to make instant and secure payments on the go. With this solution, a customer from participating banks can simply downloads the bank’s mobile app, selects the QR option and pays for goods and services by scanning the QR code at enabled merchants in Pakistan. For merchants, Visa on mobile provides real-time notifications of payments to their bank account and access to sales and transactions history. Transactions are processed through Visa’s global network, VisaNet, applying the scale, security and reliability of Visa to mobile payments. On the fintech space, we are also collaborating with a key partner to roll out Visa virtual card that will be launched soon with the aim to drive digital payments acceptance.
Khan said Pakistani consumers have become accustomed to and increasingly expect the convenience, security and reliability that digital payments offer. The main advantage of digital payment systems is that they can connect entrepreneurs to suppliers, banks, employees and untapped markets for selling their goods and services in an affordable and convenient way. These systems act as a catalyst for business registration and payments for business licenses and permits by reducing time and costs, he added.
Since the start of the pandemic, paying by Cash on Delivery (COD) has declined (28 percent) and the use of digital payments (contactless cards + mobile wallets + QR) for payment online or on delivery has increased by more than half (53 percent), he added.
According to Small Business Recovery – 2021 Outlook survey, 74 percent Pakistani merchants are confident that online shopping will remain a preference among consumers well after the crisis, he added.
“With greater financial inclusion in Pakistan, we can transform into a nation that can compete with more technologically advanced regions. Over the last two decades, the technology sector in Pakistan has grown significantly, creating an environment conducive to the expansion of technology-enabled services. This will continue to be one of the biggest drivers of Pakistan’s ecommerce landscape in the future,” he added.
Visa provides its customers with several ways to prevent fraud throughout the lifecycle of a Card-Not-Present transaction. Prior to purchase, issuers can protect cardholders by replacing sensitive payment account numbers in the ecosystem with tokens via Visa Token Service. Visa Consumer Authentication Service provides real-time predictive analytics prior to authorization, allowing issuers to determine the level of risk associated with online transactions. Visa Advanced Authorization and Visa Risk Manager give issuers the ability to make intelligent decisions in real-time to detect fraud at the point of purchase and reduce false rejections so that the customer experience is not compromised. And after the transaction, Visa Actionable Fraud Intelligence provides issuers with actionable insights on fraud prevention opportunities to improve fraud performance.
“Visa Risk team operates round the clock vigilance to detect, prevent, and respond to threats in real-time. We have kept global fraud rates at historic lows-less than 0.1 percent – through investing in both human intelligence and technology like AI empowering consumers and clients with tools, resources and control to manage risk; and setting governance processes to help businesses and regulators stay nimble,” Khan added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021
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