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SBP launches Raast P2M service

SBP to issue new currency notes
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December 06, 2023 (MLN): As part of the Raast implementation project, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has launched an interoperable Raast P2M service to facilitate digital payment acceptance for merchants and businesses, the circular notification issued by SBP to all the Regulated Entities (REs) revealed on Tuesday.

Accordingly, it has been decided that all REs shall enable the following capabilities for processing P2M transactions via their delivery channels including mobile apps, internet banking portals and USSD channels by March 01, 2024:

  • Read/scan Raast P2M QR codes in line with DI&SD’s Circular Letter No. 1 dated March 02, 2022 and related specifications/instructions issued by SBP.
  • Process Request to Pay (Now/Later) transactions initiated by merchants or third parties.
  • Enable Push Payments to merchant Raast Aliases and IBANs.
  • Enable customers to initiate the request for returns/refunds through the Raast provided option.

To ensure maximum adoption of digital payment services through Raast P2M Service, all REs shall design efficient, seamless and easy-to-use customer interfaces.

REs will not charge any fee from their customers paying for their transactions. They will also not restrict the number and amount of transactions performed by their customers unless there are genuine fraud/cyber security/AML-related concerns.

In addition, instant transaction confirmation or rejection will be informed. REs will ensure that account statements available for customers on digital channels (apps/internet portals) are updated in real-time.

Raast Merchant Service Providers (MSPs) shall ensure the following:

  • Onboard businesses including but not limited to merchants, aggregators, marketplaces and billers, after conducting due diligence in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
  • Deploy QR codes in line with DI&SD’s Circular Letter No. 1 dated March 02, 2022, and follow the related specifications/instructions issued by SBP.
  • Enable the Raast payment acceptance modes for the merchants which include Request to Pay (RTP) Now and Later, IBAN, Merchant Alias and Static and Dynamic QR codes.
  • Enable merchants to accept or reject the request for refunds/returns of a transaction initiated by the customer using MSP’s provided Raast merchant interface.
  • Ensure that merchants receive payment confirmation/rejection advice immediately after receiving such advice from Raast. Further, they shall provide real-time payment confirmation (e.g. real-time account statement) to merchants.
  • Ensure that funds are credited into merchant accounts on real real-time basis or as per the timelines agreed with merchants and third parties.
  • Facilitate merchants by providing efficient, convenient and user-friendly check-out services and offering mobile apps/devices for both proximity and online payments.
  • Devise comprehensive dispute resolution, liability and risk management frameworks for on-boarded merchants as well as for third parties.
  • Take all possible steps to prevent the loss of customer data and funds due to cybersecurity threats. In this regard, special care must be taken to safeguard the systems and devices at the merchant end as per international best practices.
  • Take all necessary steps to prevent fraud and misuse of Raast P2M Service in line with relevant instructions issued by SBP from time to time.
  • Ensure that customers are not charged any fee on their purchases, by merchants or third parties.

MSPs may also charge a reasonable fee from merchants to co-brand their check-out service with Raast P2M Service and enter into agreements with third parties offering billing/invoicing services. 

Further, MSPs may embed Raast merchant services for checkout purposes into their partner apps. However, they will have to comply with all relevant SBP regulations as issued from time to time.

Other REs desirous of becoming Raast Merchant Service Providers (MSP) shall inform SBP’s Digital Innovation & Settlements Department (DI&SD) and complete the necessary technical requirements for integrating with Raast.

All REs shall ensure that billers/bill-aggregators already onboarded by them are also enabled to accept payments via Raast RTP by March 31, 2024, the notice further reads.

Non-compliance with the Raast-related instructions shall attract punitive action under the relevant provisions of the Payment Systems and Electronic Fund Transfer Act, 2007, the notice warned.

It has also been advised that all REs shall submit the status of compliance with this circular duly signed by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to this department on or before April 01, 2024.

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Posted on: 2023-12-06T11:04:32+05:00