Abb Takk News

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is working with 25 banks to facilitate 50 cattle markets across the country for the payment through QR code via mobile phones and Raast, the instant payment system during the upcoming Eidul Azha.

The initiative aims to assist both customers and merchants in avoiding the burden of carrying heavy cash amidst security concerns. Additionally, QR payments could potentially enable banks to access over Rs550-600 billion in cattle purchases through digital banking during the annual festival.

While speaking at the 17th international conference titled ‘Mobile Commerce 2024’, organised by Total Communications, SBP (Payment System Policy and Oversight Department) Joint Director Ahmed Sumair said that the central bank was working with the banks to enable cattle markets and cattle farmers to do transaction on QR code on Eidul Azha.

A Quick Response (QR) code payment is a form of contactless payment. A QR code is a scannable barcode containing horizontal and vertical lines, dots, and patterns.

“People can scan QR codes generated by merchants via mobile phones on Raast or through other mobile applications provided by commercial banks,” Ahmed Sumair said, as reported by Total Communications, the conference organiser. The QR code payment method is also accessible on Raast via basic keypad phones, offering free financial transactions.

Although QR code payment systems have been available in Pakistan for some time, their non-interoperability limited their utility. Raast has introduced an interoperable QR code, allowing individuals to make payments between different banks through mobile banking.

“We are working with 25 banks…and have selected 50 major cattle markets to enable QR code payment method there,” he said.

The SBP official said the markets had been identified in all the 15 cities having SBP field offices including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Hyderabad. “We are covering six cattle markets alone in Karachi on this Eid (falling in mid of June 2024).”

The project aims to address various challenges, including the inconvenience of carrying cash and making payments for sacrificial animals. Furthermore, it seeks to onboard cattle farmers and promote financial inclusion through Raast.

The SBP official said the QR code payment method would revolutionise the payment experience, as high cost of installing POS machines at merchants had its own limitations.

The QR payment has also enabled small merchants to receive payment through online transactions, discouraging the use of cash in the economy. Merchants may display QR code to receive online payment in a real-time and hassle-free manner.