We’ve been hearing for the last week or so that PayPal could launch in Pakistan in the coming months, and now there’s a more concrete sign that this will indeed happen. The State Bank of Pakistan is advising Pakistanis who live overseas to use PayPal’s money transfer service Xoom to donate to the Supreme Court of Pakistan Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand Dams Fund.
PayPal enters agreements with five Pakistani banks
The dam fund was set up to collect donations to support construction of the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams. Since it was created, various lawmakers and public officials have been making contributions to it, and many Pakistanis living abroad are also wanting to help out.
To support that effort, PayPal has now entered agreements with five banks in the country to accept payments through its Xoom money transfer service. According to Xoom’s own website, the five banks it is working with in Pakistan are Allied Bank, Bank Alfalah, MCB Bank, the National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Limited.
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The SBP is recommending PayPal’s money transfer service to Pakistani expatriates as a faster way for them to move their donations into the dam fund. According to ProPakistani, many expats have already been sending donations via debit or credit cards, but using that method takes a few days for the funds to reach the SBP account for the dams.
By using Xoom, Pakistanis living abroad can send donations faster and have them reach the account in the same day in some cases. So far, expats have donated more than Rs. 379 million toward the construction of the two dams.
Temporary approval for PayPal only
We must emphasize that the State Bank of Pakistan is only temporarily allowing PayPal transfers via Xoom, and it’s only for donations made to the dam fund. At this time, no other PayPal payments are being allowed in the country.
It sounds like this could change very soon. ProPakistani said that if Xoom helps significantly grow the amount of money in the dam fund, it could “pave the way” for PayPal to launch its mainstream service in Pakistan. Additionally, Pakistan Finance Minister Asad Omer hinted in a TV interview recently that PayPal or a similar digital payment service could launch in the country some time in the next three or four months.
We should point out that we’ve been hearing that PayPal could launch in Pakistan since at least 2015, so the deal with Xoom is far from a guarantee that this will happen. On the other hand, just working with Xoom is the closest PayPal has come to actually launching in the country, so we will just have to wait and see what happens.