Mastercard recently announced a strategic collaboration with Pakistan's government that would harness Mastercard's technology to add payments capabilities to the country’s national ID card system, but government authorities want time to explore the deal further, according to Pakistani media reports.
The card brand earlier this month said the move would allow Pakistani citizens to carry out financial transactions and receive government disbursements using each citizen's unique 13-digit identification card number.
The service would be used to process all online payments made by Pakistanis citizens applying for national ID cards and passports provisioned by National Database and Registration Authority, or Nadra Technologies, and it would also enable citizens to use their national ID card to send and receive domestic and international remittances, Mastercard said in the release.
The State Bank of Pakistan last week put the agreement on hold to take a closer look at details of the plan, according to a report in Dawn, a Pakistan-based newspaper.
"Our Memo of Understanding with Nadra Technologies reflects a shared commitment to provide Pakistani citizens access to payments tools and services, while promoting financial inclusion," Mastercard said in an emailed statement. All personal information pertaining will continue to be held by Nadra, while Mastercard will process the remittance and payment transactions, Mastercard added in the statement.
Mastercard established physical operations in Pakistan in November 2016 when it opened its first office in the country, under the name Mastercard Pakistan Private Limited, in Karachi. Mastercard’s goal is to provide debit, credit and prepaid card services in Pakistan, and to support a payment gateway and digital payment solutions, Mastercard said in a release last year.
Mastercard enables Masterpass QR in Pakistan and last year it launched HomeSend, a remittance solution with Pakistan’s Meezan Bank.
Pakistanis receive about $20 billion in remittances annually, according to World Bank data.