Print Edition - 2017-09-10 | MONEY
Electronic cardholders can now make online purchases
- Nabil Bank introduces a new service that allows holders of Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay cards to buy goods and services from online stores in the country
Sep 10, 2017-
Do you use Visa, Mastercard or UnionPay cards? There’s good news if you do. You can now use your debit, credit and prepaid cards to purchase goods and services from online stores located in the country.
Nabil Bank has introduced a brand new service that allows electronic card holders to use their smartphones, tablets and computers to buy goods and services from any online platform that is linked to its electronic payment gateway. The beauty of this service is that the buyer need not have an account at Nabil or use electronic cards issued by the bank to purchase goods and services online. This means even buyers who have obtained Visa card or Mastercard from other banks like Nepal Investment, Himalayan or Standard Chartered can engage in online trading.
This is the first time such a service has been introduced in the country.
“We have always advocated for presence of healthy, good and modern payment system. Nabil Bank has gone a step further to introduce this platform,” Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Chiranjibi Nepal told an event organised to launch the electronic payment gateway on Friday evening.
The service launched by Nabil will also support Nepal-based enterprises, such as hotels and others engaged in travel trade, that are using intermediaries to bag businesses from abroad.
“At present, Nepali hotels are paying up to 40 percent of what they earn as commission to international mediating companies, like hotels.com, to attract business,” Nabil Bank CEO Sashin Joshi said. “These enterprises can now link their websites to our payment gateway to attract businesses from overseas.”
The new service launched by Nabil is expected to revolutionise the budding e-commerce sector in Nepal, as it will encourage millions of electronic cardholders here to engage in online trading and even open online stores.
Nepal’s e-commerce sector is still in a nascent stage, despite proliferation in the number of internet users. Today, almost 59 percent of the country’s population has access to internet, thanks to availability to cheap smartphones. Yet almost all of the Nepalis visit brick-and-mortar stores to purchase goods and services. This is happening at a time when people across the globe are buying most of the goods and services from the sites such as Amazon, E-bay, Uber and AirBNB. This is largely because of lack of infrastructure, such as lack of payment gateways, and supporting government policies.
Nepalis are currently using few tools such as e-wallets, introduced by a handful of companies, and internet banking platforms to conduct online transactions. These tools have not been able to draw many users as separate accounts need to be created to engage in online trading.
Nabil’s service, on the other hand, allows anyone holding debit, credit and prepared cards of Visa, Mastercard or UnionPay to engage in online trading.
As of mid-July, banks and financial institutions in Nepal had issued over 5.1 million debit, credit and prepared cards, a majority of which are Visa cards. All these cardholders are now eligible to purchase goods and services online.
These card users, according to the bank, need not worry about security while making online purchases, as safety protocols developed by companies like Visa and Mastercard are being followed.
The systems introduced by the bank, 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 of the user, before engaging in online transaction.
“We use 3D security, which is the state-of-the-art technology and most secure,” Nabil Bank CEO Joshi said. “We will continue to upgrade the security system to ward off emerging threats and protect our clients.”
While buyers have now been empowered to make online purchases, sellers should also start linking their sites to electronic payment gateways available in the country.
This will gradually move retail shopping out of malls and brick-and-mortar
stores to the internet and promote e-commerce in the country. This will increase transparency and help the taxman to control cases of tax evasion.
Debit Cards – 4,980,958
Credit Cards – 68,966
Prepaid Cards – 101,458
Source: Nepal Rastra Bank
Published: 10-09-2017 08:50