In Pakistan, e-money is defined as "monetary value stored on an electronic device or payment instrument issued on receipt of funds and accepted as a means of payment by entities other than issuer." Regulations have been issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (central bank) to govern Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) which are "entities that offer innovative, user-friendly and cost effective low value digital payment prepaid instruments like wallets, prepaid cards, and contactlesspayment instruments including wearables." The following are excerpts from the EMI regulations objectives:
Traditionally, payment instruments in Pakistan are issued by banks without participation of non-banking entities. New technological innovations are now enabling non-banking sector to deliver innovative and efficient payment services to consumers atmuch lower cost. These regulations are primarily aimed at removing entry barriers for non-banking entities by providing them a guiding as well as an enabling regulatory framework for the establishment and operations of EMIs in Pakistan. These regulations also address potential risks in order to ensure consumer protection in line with legal framework of the countrywhile promoting digital payments and financial inclusion.
- To provide regulatory framework for EMIs desirous of offering innovative payment services to the general public.
- To prescribe minimum service standards and requirements for EMIs to ensure delivery of payment services in a safe, sound and cost effective manner.
- To outline the permissible activities that can be carried out by an EMI and its agents'network.
- To provide a baseline for protection of EMI’scustomers.
- To achievethe State Bank of Pakistan's objective of digital paymentsand financial inclusion.
Subject to exceptions stated within the regulations, EMIs may engage in the following activities:
- Issue e-money payment instruments.
- Distribute e-money payment instruments.
- Redeem e-moneypayment instruments.
- Acquire payment instruments of other EMIs and banks/MFBs.
- Multilateral routing, switching and/orprocessing of payment transactions.
- Any other activity permitted by State Bank of Pakistan.