ISSN 2330-717X

Easypaisa: Another Name Of Convenience – OpEd

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The growing population of smartphones and introduction of newer applications have contributed a lot towards financial inclusion. Over the years, one of the biggest handicaps of commercial banking has been a limited number of bank accounts, particularly in the low-income groups and remote areas. Banks have been reluctant to establish brick and mortar branches in these areas. 

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To address this important problem, Easypaisa can rightly take pride in having led the fintech revolution in Pakistan as soon as it came into existence. Easypaisa was launched in Pakistan in 2009 as a peer-to-peer money transfer service. However, its biggest contribution is bringing financial services to the unbanked population of Pakistan by enabling account opening, sending, and receiving money simply through a basic mobile phone.

Pioneering mobile banking in Pakistan and becoming the foremost branchless banking brand in the country, Easypaisa continued its journey towards expanding its services portfolio to serve the unbanked segments of the society and offering them services that they could only dream of.

In a very short span of time, a network of Easypaisa retailers and franchises was developed across the country, which is now serving millions of customers each day.

Easypaisa launched nano loans, a first-of-its-kind service in the South Asian region, also one of the platform’s most outstanding features. These unsecured short-term loans are offered digitally and disbursed within minutes.

Easypaisa was fully cognizant of the fact that operating as a lone wolf, it may take months and years to reach out to the vast majority of people. Therefore, it decided to facilitate the users of other telco operators in using Easypaisa without hassle. Therefore, a telco-agnostic Easypaisa App was launched that brought banking literally to users’ fingertips.

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The App’s evolution to excellence continued over the years as it allowed users to send and receive money, purchase mobile top-ups and bundles, pay utility bills, buy bus and movie tickets, avail discounts, donate to different causes, and do a lot more. Integration of QR payments functionality also made payments swifter and easier for users.

With over 50 use cases or digital payments services available on the platform today, Easypaisa is more than just a digital payments platform, it offers customers a complete digital lifestyle solution. Products such as digital lending, savings, and insurance products are also offered through the Easypaisa App.

Easypaisa has on many occasions been recognized for its financial inclusion prowess both locally and on international forums. During Covid-19 lockdowns, Easypaisa played a key role in enabling Pakistanis to make transactions digitally. New activations on the platform went up by 35%, the number of daily transactions from the Easypaisa App grew by 17% and bank transfers via the platform increased by 184%.

Today, the Easypaisa App is the largest indigenous app of Pakistani origin and the platform’s network has grown to 180,000+ registered agents across the country.

During 2021, the Easypaisa platform was used by more than 10 million customers every month with a throughput of Rs 3 trillion, which is approximately 6% of the country’s GDP.

According to World Bank, Pakistan’s digital finance potential is estimated around US$36 billion. In this market, Easypaisa has seized the opportunity right in time and created a new delivery approach with an efficient platform.

By forging partnerships with some of the country’s leading retail stores, restaurants, health institutions, clothing brands, and cinemas, Easypaisa is fast on its way to becoming the ultimate digital lifestyle partner of today’s connected customers.

Easypaisa is fast becoming a platform provider that supports the growth of different businesses by integrating its payment capabilities with them. A key step in this regard has been the launch of the platform’s mini-app interface and Open APIs, which enable seamless integration for third-party applications. The Open APIs act as an underlying layer through which businesses can facilitate comprehensive digital payments, including money transfers, IBFT, bill payments, and other payments directly through their websites or applications. All these initiatives are taking Easypaisa towards becoming a Super App.

Registered mobile phone users have the freedom to deposit and withdraw cash from digital accounts in real-time. The separation of mobile money from banks makes it one of the most efficient tools in financial inclusion. The only requirement for mobile banking is the possession of a SIM card and CNIC for registration and any smart/ feature mobile phone.

Pakistan’s retail sector is the third-largest in the country, employing 15% of the country’s total labor force. As the fifth-largest country in terms of population, the industry holds immense potential and the fastest way to document its growth is to mandate digital payments acceptance by everyone.

Particularly, in a post-Covid Pakistan with high rates of inflation, there need to be alternatives to cash. As new digital payment mechanisms like RAAST, NFC-enabled debit and credit cards, and QR codes become more popular, customers across the country have the reason to make the shift towards digital payments.

Increased availability of digital payment systems, like peer-to-peer payments, digital wallets, etc. bring to the consumer a variety of benefits while promising transparency, efficiency, and convenience.

Easypaisa’s journey from a money transfer service to becoming a one-stop-shop for fulfilling all payment needs of its customers is a testament to its dedication to digital innovation and collaborations for a financially inclusive society.

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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