Payment Systems Department at State Bank of Pakistan has taken number of initiatives for the benefits of Pakistani’s living abroad enabling international financial transactions more modern and secured. To develop and maintain robust payment systems mechanisms for the growth of international remittances and support trading activities while focusing economic growth with a special emphasis on this region is one of the core objectives of SBP’s vision and strategy 2020. Since 2012, SBP is the Secretariat of SAARC Payments Initiative (SPI) taken by the SAARCFINANCE Group in 2007. In 2008 the SAARC Payments Council (SPC) was established under the SPI to take forward the vision of SPI i.e. improving and developing modern payment and settlement systems and mechanisms in the SAARC region.
The SPI Secretariat conducted bi-annual meetings on rotation basis in SAARC countries to discuss underlying issues and developments. This Forum is striving to provide reliable and harmonized systems to the people and business communities of the region so that they can use payment instruments such as plastic cards on low and high-value standard payment channels for their day-to-day and business payments without any delays. Like other regions such as EU; SBP through this Forum has also started knowledge and capacity building in the area of payment and settlement systems. For this purpose, numerous seminars have so far been conducted on payment systems security, future of Virtual Currencies, emerging issues in Large-Value Payment Systems (RTGS), issues in Correspondent Banking, emerging role of Non-banks in payment systems, modern Retail Payment Systems, current role of Committee on Payment and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) etc.
To comply and maintain international standards and recommendations on payment and settlement systems, various projects by the SPC are also underway such as SAARC development report on payment systems, SAARC countries Payment Systems Matrix, discussion on projects under the concept of Single Harmonized Payments Mechanism in the SAARC region, Payment Systems Risk Mitigation Matrix etc.