Pakistanis to be allowed Play Store purchases via credit, debit cards from Dec 1


ISLAMABAD: According to The News, the global tech company announced that users in Pakistan will be able to make Play Store purchases using credit or debit cards beginning on December 1 due to requirements in the country.

All Pakistani users can access Google Play now and in the future.However, there is a possibility that the payment options will evolve over time.A Google spokesperson stated, “Until other payment methods are made available, users in Pakistan will be able to make Play Store purchases only through credit or debit card beginning on December 1, 2022, due to local requirements.”

The State Bank of Pakistan revoked direct carrier billing (DCB) for mobile phone operators, putting the outstanding balance at $34 million.After this, the Service of Data Innovation and Telecom, the Pakistan Media transmission Authority (PTA), and four portable administrators kept in touch with the national bank.

Information Technology and Telecom Minister Amin Ul Haque stated in a letter to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar that IT-related payments under $100,000 were authorized by SBP through the designated commercial banks. These payments include mobile app purchases and subscription services.

However, in September 2022, SBP revoked banks’ authorization to make payments related to IT on behalf of telecom/cellular mobile operators.

“This denial has limited the telecom administrators to paying worldwide IT stages like Google, YouTube, Meta and Spotify and so forth.for the operator-facilitated digital services and associated customer payment procedure known as Direct Carrier Billing, a worldwide standard offering by Cellular Mobile Operators (CMO) with a significant tax value.

In addition, the minister stated that while providing these services, Pakistani mobile operators contributed approximately Rs5.3 billion to the country’s general fund.It stated that “all the major players like Google, Amazon, and Meta, are being impacted because of non-payment and are most likely to discontinue their services in Pakistan.” This warning was issued.

“Recently, Google sent notices to mobile operators to stop using DCB services until all outstanding payments are paid in full.He stated, “The notices were issued to Jazz and Ufone (which are attached),” adding that their suspension could cause serious political unrest, damage the nation’s investment reputation, harm digital business, IT exports, and e-learning, and cost the nation a significant sum of money.

He pleaded with the finance minister to withdraw the DCB’s revocation of the IT designation of the respective banks authorized for IT-related remittances on behalf of telecom operators and to ensure that pending payments to global digital platforms are made promptly.

In the meantime, the SBP stated in its statement that during recent off-site reviews, it was observed that Telcos were remitting the majority of the funds for video gaming, entertainment content purchased by their customers using airtime, under DCB. This was in addition to using the mechanism to remit funds for IT-related services for their own use.

Most of the time, DCB is an online mobile payment method that lets users charge their mobile phone carrier’s bill for purchases.The telecommunications companies were allowing their customers to purchase these items with airtime and then send money abroad to pay for IT-related services.As a result, the telecommunications providers helped their customers buy services by acting as intermediaries or payment aggregators.

The central bank therefore revoked the designation of banks of Telcos for such payments due to the violation of foreign exchange regulations.However, Telcos have been advised by their banks to resubmit their requests in order to facilitate their legitimate IT-related payments.Under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947, if a company wants to act as an intermediary or payment aggregator and the arrangement involves the outflow of foreign currency, it must apply to SBP separately through its bank for special permission to provide such services. This includes telecommunications companies.

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