Google Payments is not blocked, SBP explains


Representative image of the Google Play Store.  news/file
Representative image of the Google Play Store. news/file

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) clarified that Google Payments was not blocked.

The central bank said this in response to reports in some sections of the media claiming that Google Play Store services will not be available in Pakistan from December this year due to non-payment of $34 million to international service providers.

“The central bank stopped the direct carrier billing (DCB) mechanism, after which it stopped paying $34 million on an annual basis through mobile carriers to international service providers, including Google, Amazon and Mita,” the report said.

SBP explained in a recent notification, “The fact is that in order to facilitate local entities, SBP has identified certain information technology (IT) related services, which these entities can obtain from abroad for their own use and make foreign exchange payments there for up to $100,000.” per invoice.

These services include satellite transceiver, international bandwidth/internet/private line services, software licensing/maintenance/support, electronic media and database usage service. Entities wishing to use this option designate a bank approved by SBP once Subsequently, after designation, these payments can be processed through the designated bank, without any further regulatory approval.”

However, SBP said that during recent off-site reviews, it was noted that in addition to using the aforementioned mechanism to transfer funds for IT-related services for their own use, telcos were diverting the bulk of funds earmarked for video games and entertainment. content, etc., purchased by its customers using airtime, under Direct Carrier Billing (DCB).

The central bank explained that DCB is, in general, a mobile internet payment method, which allows users to make purchases by collecting payment from their mobile phone carrier bill.

“Telecom companies were allowing their customers to purchase the aforementioned products through airtime and then transfer money abroad reflecting such transactions as payments for obtaining IT related services. Thus, in effect, telecom companies were acting as payment intermediaries/aggregators by facilitating Obtaining services by their subscribers. Therefore, as foreign exchange regulations were violated, SBP canceled the designation of Telcos banks for such payments. However, to facilitate their legitimate IT-related payments, telecom companies through their banks were advised to resubmit their applications,” the SBP statement says. .

“If any entity, including a telecom company, intends to act as a payment intermediary/aggregator and such arrangement involves an outflow of foreign exchange, it shall approach the SBP, separately through its bank, to obtain special permission to provide such services under the Foreign Exchange Act.” Regulation of 1947.”


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