Visa set to launch m-payments platform in Pakistan

Visa is set to launch its own mobile financial services platform in Pakistan. The product will use VisaNet technology and function on an 'interoperability' model – a first in Pakistan's mobile banking market.

Visa is set to launch its own mobile financial services platform in Pakistan. The product will use VisaNet technology and function on an ‘interoperability’ model – a first in Pakistan’s mobile banking market.

Platform provider Fundamo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Visa based in Cape Town, South Africa, will launch the solution.

A Visa spokesperson close to the development said the model won’t be "specific to a particular bank or a cellular service provider, all you need is a Visa card".

Customers will use information from their Visa card – the security code for example – to complete transactions from their mobile phone. Initially Visa will offer all mobile banking transactions currently in place. Later on, it will introduce more features.

According to the Visa spokesperson, the product will be launched soon: "Visa is ready to market the product, it has the full backing of the central bank as well".

Visa entered Pakistan’s mobile banking segment earlier this year after Fundamo partnered with Monet to provide a MFS platform for Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalah’s mobile banking solution. The company’s interest for further expansion comes on the back of recent growth in mobile banking.

According to Fundamo CEO Hannes van Rensburg "the Pakistani mobile financial services market is one of the most successful in the world".

Rensburg attributed this to "the vast number of people with mobile phone subscription but without access to financial services".

Despite increased adoption and use, the majority of Pakistanis remain unbanked. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, only 12% of the population has access to formal financial services today, whereas mobile penetration is nearing 70%.

"This means that there is still enormous scope for growth in the market," Rensburg said.

Mobile banking has managed more than 31mn transactions worth $1.5bn in the last quarter of 2012, according to the State Bank of Pakistan.

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