Of the more than 100 billion transactions that Pakistanis engage in, only 0.2% percent of that number accounts for digital transactions whereas the total share of digital transactions in peer countries ranges from 1.5% to that of 7%. Now though, the Prime Minister of Pakistan in Imran Khan taken the step to launch the country’s first ever Digital Payment system going by the name of ‘Raast.’
The platform forms part of the vision to include poor segments of the society in the formal economy. Indeed in accordance with what the website of the State Bank of Pakistan has had to say, Raast is in fact Pakistan’s first ever instant payment system which will go on and enable end-to-end digital payments amongst that of individuals, businesses and government entities : all in an instantaneous manner. The state-of-the-art system will have the capabilities to provide a cheap as well as universal access to all the players that happen to find themselves in the financial world : including both banks as well as fintechs.
There exists a large variety of reasons as to why Pakistan has found itself to engage in low electronic transactions – this including reasons such as low banking penetration, lack of trust and awareness of digital payment methods, limited amounts of interoperability and also of course the high cost of transaction associated with the same. The Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) of Pakistan has the potential of course to provide instant payment settlements for large value and corporate transactions only. With Raast, Pakistan’s retail payment settlements will be provided with much greater efficiency.
Along the large number of benefits that are being associated with Raast : the biggest include instantaneous payments, low-to-no transaction costs for users, full sector wide interoperability, customer-centric innovative products/services, and also of course reliability to go along the enhanced security measures that are placed within.