SBP directs banks, regulated entities to digitise corporate payments

In its bid to enhance digitisation of payments and receipts in the corporate sector, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has now made it mandatory for its regulated entities (REs) including banks, microfinance banks, payment system operators and payment system providers to provide digital means of payments to their corporate clients to enable businesses for sending and receiving their payments.

SBP, in its latest circular issued on Friday, has asked its regulated entities to facilitate their institutional clients including corporations, companies, and partnerships for making large value payments through digital channels.

Under the new instructions, regulated entities are now required to extend online portals/platforms for digital payments and receipts of corporates including online inter-bank fund transfer services, online bill/invoice sharing and payment services like over the counter (OTC) digital payments services/facilities, card payments using Point of Sale (POS) terminals, QR codes, mobile devices, ATMs, Kiosk or any other digital payments enabled device.

“REs shall ensure that a comprehensive authority matrix and necessary access controls are in place to avoid any unauthorized use of online corporate portals as well as other means of digital payments; For improved reporting purposes, REs shall ensure that all modes of transactions i.e. cash, digital, paper-based are recorded with proper identifiers for each transaction; For invoice-based transactions, REs shall create provision in their systems to record payer and payee account numbers/IBAN, title and type (individual/business), where available, and invoice numbers,” read SBP’s circular letter.

In order to monitor the progress of implementation of these instructions, the SBP has advised banks to submit a roadmap of implementing these measures within 30 days.

Banks are also required to submit quarterly progress reports to SBP on the number of businesses facilitated for digitization of their payments and receipts.

“SBP expects that these measures would increase documentation of value chains and help businesses manage their large value transactions more effectively. The initiative will also facilitate implementation of Federal Board of Revenue’s recently introduced measures on integration of businesses with FBR system and conducting of corporate payments through digital means,” read the statement.

Regulated entities are also required to make all efforts to onboard non-corporate players including Sole Proprietors, SMEs and MSMEs for the provision of digital payments.