Money

Nepalis’ online shopping dream coming true soon

- RUPAK D SHARMA, Kathmandu
This service is expected to revolutionise the e-commerce business in Nepal, as it will allow millions of electronic cardholders to purchase goods from Nepal-based online stores and even open online stores

Jul 18, 2017-

Nepal’s budding e-commerce business is expected to get a much-needed shot in the arm soon, as two banks are introducing platforms that will enable debit and credit card holders to purchase goods and services from online stores based in the country.

This is the first-of-a-kind service being launched in Nepal.

Nabil Bank and Himalayan Bank have already installed systems that support countrywide online trading and have started conducting tests as well. These systems have been certified by renowned payment technology companies like Visa and Mastercard, and ensure secure online transactions.

“If things go according to plan, we will launch the service within a month,” Nabil Bank CEO Sashin Joshi told the Post.

Himalayan Bank is mulling over introducing the service even sooner. “We are hoping to launch the service in the next 10 days,” the bank’s CEO Ashoke Rana said.

The entry of only two banks in the online trading business, however, should not mean only clients of these financial institutions will be able to purchase goods and services from Nepal-based online stores. These banks have installed systems that enable electronic cardholders of any bank to engage in online trading.

But the electronic cards should be products of Visa, Mastercard or Union Pay International, if the online shopper is using the payment gateway of Nabil Bank. In the case of Himalayan Bank, the electronic cards should be products of Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay International, American Express or JCB, according to Rana.

This facility is expected to revolutionise the e-commerce business in Nepal, as it will allow millions of electronic cardholders here to engage in online trading and even open online stores.

Currently, Nepalis are using handful of tools, such as e-Sewa, a homemade payment gateway, and internet banking platforms introduced by banks, to conduct online transactions.

Once the two banks start offering online trading service, anyone holding debit and credit cards can indulge in online shopping if the websites are integrated with payment gateways of the two banks.

Nepal has lately seen proliferation in the issuance of electronic cards, especially debit cards, because of rapid expansion of banks and financial institutions.

Banks and financial institutions have so far issued around 5.1 million units of debit cards in the country, of which 4.7 million units were supplied by commercial banks. Commercial banks have also issued around 64,140 units of credit cards and around 99,935 units of pre-paid cards.

All these card users, according to the banks, need not worry about security while conducting online transactions, as safety protocols developed by companies like Visa and Mastercard will be followed.

The systems introduced by the two banks, for instance, will not allow online shoppers to purchase goods or services online only by providing card information, such as card number and its expiry date. They must enter one-time password generated by the system, which will be sent to registered cell phone number or e-mail address, before engaging in online transaction.

The service that is being launched soon is also expected to lend support Nepal-based enterprises, such as hotels and others engaged in travel trade, that are using intermediaries to bag businesses from abroad.

At present, some of the hotels are paying up to 70 percent of what they earn as commission fee to mediating companies based abroad to attract business. Now, these enterprises can simply link their websites to payment gateways of domestic banks to conduct online trading.

Published: 18-07-2017 08:16

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