Sunday, October 1, 2023

Digital Payment Acceptance: The Need of the Hour for Pakistan’s MSMEs

The year is 2023 and the world is increasingly described as a global digital village. With the introduction of AI software such as ChatGPT, Bard and so many more,  people are now ironically wondering what is around the corner that would keep humans relevant.

The world of business however, is plagued by digital technology in a different way. From social media to ever changing consumerism habits,  businesses, particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), need to be ever watchful in order to stay relevant and competitive. Digital tools and processes have given rise to superior business models, especially for startups and MSMEs, allowing them to streamline operations and create innovative forms of value beyond traditional products and services.

MSMEs have to or rather, must be agile in this digital world. Some have disrupted  entire industries, whilst others are successfully using  digital to completely refashion customer experience. The rules of the game are: they must make processes more efficient, rather than overhauling their entire value chain.

The day June 27,  marks the solemn importance of MSMEs towards the growth of any nation’s economy.  But in order to support them, we must acknowledge the challenges they face in scaling up. One of these  key challenges, often overlooked,  includes the lack of ease or the capability of accepting digital payments across their offering to ensure safe, secure and sustainable growth.

This shift has been spearheaded by omnichannel payment enablers like Paymob, which are empowering  MSMEs to accept digital payments across the MENA-P region. Developing nations like Pakistan need MSMEs to bolster market dynamics, and greater financial inclusion consequently increases access to different audiences.

The Paymob solution suite boasts of serving large enterprises via Android powered, state of the art POS machines yet has a service that can also fully support an entrepreneur operating in a micro business model through offering payment acceptance via email, SMS or the web. The answer is strikingly clear:  the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Multiple industries such as telecommunications, banking, and retail are increasingly working in convergence to provide product suites such as mobile wallets, POS, and secure payment gateways that improve business efficiency and profitability.

If MSMEs could leverage the power of these technologies and realize the full potential of a cashless society, the benefits would be immense and there would be plunder for  every party involved. As cards, apps, and other digital solutions continue to become more and more prevalent, they boost economic activity and generate a wide range of financial and non-financial benefits.

While Pakistan embraces this disruptive  change, numerous challenges must be addressed. All stakeholders, including the private sector and the government, should look to collaborate proactively and define policies to safeguard MSMEs  interests and privacy.

Today, on global  MSME day, let us pledge to empower organizations that contribute meaningfully and significantly to Pakistan’s economy. Policies that galvanize and bolster the support for MSMEs must be at the forefront with definitive plans for women driven businesses. MSMEs are the backbone to any economy and are a means for many to sustain their livelihoods. Their pivotal role in society must be highlighted and celebrated.

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