Payment systems in Pakistan have evolved significantly over the last decade, driven by the development of new payment instruments, electronic payment infrastructure and changing consumer needs. This development has resulted in rapid shift from the use of traditional paper instruments to a diverse range of electronic payment instruments, supported by efficient and reliable clearing and settlement infrastructure.
As a result of these developments Pakistan now has payment systems with the following main features
(i) large value real time fund transfers system known as PRISM (Pakistan Real-time Inter-bank Settlement Mechanism) equipped with the modern liquidity saving and risk mitigation features
(ii) government securities settlement system fully integrated with the RTGS System, providing electronic settlement on DvP (Delivery versus Payment) Model 1 basis
(iii) real time retail payment system operated by 1Link, capable of providing P2P transfers on 24/7 basis from different Alternate Delivery Channels i.e. ATMs, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking
(iv) paper instrument clearing facilities on T+1 basis, backed by a network of more than 27 clearing/satellite centers around the country
(v) central counter party for the capital market transactions
(vi) agent based branchless banking, catering cash and fund transfer needs of millions of consumers
(vii) account numbers compliant with the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) standard
(viii) fully interoperable ATM networks with one of the lowest interchange fee in the world
(ix) recently launched domestic payment scheme known as PayPak for providing low cost payment solution to consumers and financial institutions.
The roles and responsibilities of the State Bank of Pakistan in payment systems are mainly governed by the Payment Systems & Electronic Fund Transfer Act 2007. Consequently, Payment Systems Department in the Bank has been entrusted to oversee and regulate payment systems in Pakistan besides operating the PRISM System.