Payments Blueprint

Recently I wrote about Pakistan Fintech Start-Up Challenge: A Case For Building Pakistan’s Equivalent Of PayPal. A few of my friends asked me to put out some form of a primer for the product/solution that the challenge would be focused on.

Since I don’t have a specific primer on hand, I did decide to publish what I think ought to be the case. Needless to say, this is a classical case of in my humble opinion this is what the product & challenge blueprint should look like. Many will disagree, and that is perfectly ok. 

The goal here is not to provide a literal blueprint, but perhaps to highlight on the various facets of the product and the challenge itself. 

The slideshow below (about 40 slides) represents my thoughts on the same. You can download the presentation here: PDF, Powerpoint or Keynote format.

As a shameless plug, you might want to consider joining one or all of my mailing lists.


Feel free to share this slide-deck and use/reuse.

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What David Marcus jumping ship means for Facebook and the payment’s world

David Marcus Jumps Ship from PayPal to Facebook

Everyone by now has heard, David Marcus, the CEO of PayPal has resigned from PayPal and is now going to Facebook to head Messenger.  I’ve been advocating for years that Facebook will get into the payments space. I have countless posts on Quora that will testify to that fact. A lot of people kept shunning me, saying Facebook will never get into payments, citing one reason or the other.

With David Marcus jumping ship, I feel vindicated (almost). To be honest, I feel like Daniel Negreanu when he calls out cards of his opponents (in Poker). I explained my instinct about Facebook getting into payments earlier on on Quora (Why are start-ups or Facebook itself not using Facebook’s larger user base for money-transfer services?), which was part of a larger article I wrote Facebook forays into the world of online payments

Facebook has been acquiring money transmitter licenses for a while now. They were not doing this just for the fun of it – there was/is a greater plan.

If you look at China, the success of Tencent’s app WeChat in the payment’s space has been nothing short of spectacular. Baidu is the other player that recently entered into the mobile payments space in China as well. AliPay which has 750+ Million users, is the world’s largest eWallet provider. Tencent’s WeChat and their 355+ Million mobile wallet users is huge in the mobile payments space. No one in the world can rival the success of WeChat. The only other viable contender is Facebook.

Human behavior has some very simple traits. Communicating (chatting) is perhaps the simplest and most common trait when two people meet up. On a recent post by Brian Roemmele on Quora: I cited the following reasons for David Marcus wanting to jump ship:

Reasons why David Marcus jumped to Facebook

Facebook offers everything that David Marcus would want:

  • It has a very large (virgin to payments) user base
  • It has a chat client (Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp)
  • It has the ability to add on apps to the messenger (just as WeChat has)
  • PayPal does not have any of these elements as listed above
  • The culture at Facebook was not very conducive to the operating style of David Marcus. (So many insiders whom I know at PayPal have cited this). Even Rakesh Agrawal tweeted about it..

Rakesh Agrawal Tweet on David Marcus and PayPal

There is no doubt, this is a great win for Facebook. Recruiting David Marcus is perhaps the best move they could have made. Very few people know the payment’s landscape very well from a 100,000 feet. David Marcus is one of the few ones, who not only knows how the entire ecosystem looks like, but has some inside knowledge of PayPal and its plus/minus points and how Facebook could possibly leverage them. 

Remittances will definitely be something that Facebook would eventually embrace, however, because of David’s background, I personally think P2P payments is what he will strive after, putting those money transmitter licenses to use. 

All in all, PayPal is now a ship without a captain. It would be interesting to see if they bring someone from the outside, or from within eBay. The morale as of yesterday isn’t all that good. Its somber. 

David Marcus can very well pull it off. Making a world class payments platform that ties 100s of countries together. Very few people in history have been given this chance, I for one am hoping he pulls through. Best of luck – for you will need it. 


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PayPal CTO on payments, the ‘Uber experience,’ and paying with Fitbit (interview)

See on Scoop.itMoney & Payments

Paying for your coffee with your smartphone is so old-school. So, like, 2010. Today, PayPal is working on paying with wearable devices like activity trackers, smartwatches, or possibly even smart s…

Faisal Khan‘s insight:

Whilst the CTO is myopic when it comes to the payments “world”, nonetheless a great article to read. There is no doubt PayPal has done a lot of good, however, the games have just begun!

See on

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PayPal in Pakistan

PayPal in Pakistan
For the past 11 years I have been writing religiously every January an Open Letter to the President of PayPal, arguing a case for them to come to Pakistan. Also, see an update to this letter as to why they are not coming to Pakistan. For 10 years, I did not hear back from PayPal. Not once. No matter how ingenious the approach, I never got so much as a peep out of them. All that changed in 2013. For the first time ever, I did get a reply back from PayPal via unofficial channels. Before I delve into the content of the communication with them, let me say, there will be no more letters from my end now to PayPal. There is only so much one can do and invest time in. I think I have done enough from my end. For reasons that are personal, I shall not be pursing this cause any further. The baton and cause now needs to be passed on to others. (more…)

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WordPress Payments

One of the most recognized platforms in the world for blogging is WordPress, however, if you were to opt for an upgrade (as I tried), from Pakistan, it is not possible.
While trying to pay for the upgrade, I received an error message that said: This transaction cannot be processed. Please use a valid country on the billing address.

Since WordPress uses PayPal for its payment processing, unfortunately, Pakistan is not on the list of countries support by PayPal for payment processing. There are quite a few countries that are blocked because of this reason.

Here is a forum update that I found on the above mentioned subject.


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