KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmad has emphasised the need for the adoption of domestic payment scheme, PayPak card, by banks in order to provide cost effective, ubiquitous and digital payment instrument to consumers.He was addressing senior banking and financial industry executives at the event “PayPak – The Way Forward” held at State Bank of Pakistan head office on Thursday.The SBP deputy governor in his speech reflected on the prevailing use of cash and financial exclusion in the country that reduces the overall economic efficiency and hampers the development of financial sector to its realisable potential. Citing key infrastructural gaps in Pakistan for electronic payments, he highlighted that SBP’s key strategic objective was to build modern and robust payment systems in the country that enables the provision of cost effective and easily available digital financial services (DFS) to the general public.The deputy governor further talked about the importance of domestic payment schemes in the development of key payments infrastructure by incentivising both consumers and merchants while providing interoperability. While highlighting full support of SBP to the adoption of PayPak cards by all banks for issuing and acquiring, he encouraged banks to devise strategies for increasing the uptake of PayPak cards. He advised banks to step up efforts for rationalising the cost of digital transactions by reviewing merchant discount rate, increasing access points, and ensuring the safety and security of payment instruments to safeguard consumers’ money.SBP Executive Director Syed Irfan Ali also talked about the importance of collaboration and partnerships of banks with non-bank such as fintechs to provide efficient and affordable payment solutions to consumers. He advised all banks to comply with SBP’s guidelines of EMV compliance to payment card security by stipulated timelines as no exemption or relaxation will be allowed to any bank beyond June 30, 2018.1Link Board of Directors Chairman Ameer Karachiwala also spoke about the vision of PayPak cards and its significance in achieving SBP’s strategic objective of financial inclusion and modernising payments system. 1Link CEO Najeeb Agrawala in the beginning also briefed about the initiatives of 1Link in facilitating digital payments in Pakistan like IBFT and bill payments solution and future initiatives such as QR 1 and various affiliate programs.Published in Daily Times, December 8th 2017.