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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Online Payment gateways being banned in Pakistan!

As I read the Gartner ratings decline in list from top 10 offshore software development center, I did not wonder to read the Insult to injury – first no Paypal; now no Payoneer!. It has been some time that payment gateways are getting banned one by one.


"Due to a change in requirements from our regulators, as of June 1, 2010 Payoneer cards will be blocked for transactions in the countries listed by the US government as having strategic Anti Money Laundering (AML) deficiencies. This change will affect card usage in the following countries: Angola, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Sao Tome and Principe." -Aqeel Syed
This article discusses the subject in detail with a list of countries where PayPal doesn't operate besides Pakistan includes, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan and Syria.

The interesting part is that no government official has taken any notice on this or spoken about it, let alone a official stand or query.

What would it harm?
1. The current growing IT market in specific.
2. Discourage the growing number of freelance professionals from Pakistan.
3. More brain drain.
4. Lower self esteem, low energy, and an unending morale deflation that results as a part of such a decision.

Thoughts?
I don't understand such a raw decision, that Pakistan was banned. Even so when you close one option you provide alternate solutions as well. Well, one reason could be that US has come across or is expecting such a case that money laundering would happen or could happen through such websites and using such payment gateways. But if one has to do something they would just do it by any means.

I think its not about honour or dignity that the payment gateways should be unbanned, its about the people who have day to day earning associated with freelance websites. There are companies having businesses completely banking upon such sites. There are individuals who get their bread and butter from such websites.

Alternatives?
1. Use Google Checkout

2. If you're a company, you could try to register with some credit card processing company so that you can accept credit cards.

3. Open a bank account and accept money via SWIFT.

4. Use snail mail, I was able to use the snail mail for USD =34/- for my first project.

5. Own a Payment Gateway: Even if we do come up with our own online payment gateway, the question is - would that be globally accepted or as prestigous as Paypal or Payoneer?

I believe its worth a try, to start with, and let the time answer that question. We have international banks(Barclays, for instance) operating within, and I believe its possible to come up with a fully functional integrated payment gateway. Obviously, it would take 5/10 years to earn some repute in the industry - depends how we'd use it.

References:
1. Internet Usage in Asia[http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm#asia]
2. Rentacoder[http://rentacoder.com]
3. Frauds[http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t288446-internet-fraud-by-rentacoder-com.html]

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