An Open Letter to David Marcus, President @ PayPal.

Open Letter to David Marcus, President of PayPal
January 16th 2013.

David A. Marcus
2211 North First Street
San Jose,
California 95131

Subject: PayPal for Pakistan

Dear Mr Marcus:

For a little over 10 years now, I have been writing to the President/CEO of PayPal every January asking Why isn’t PayPal available in Pakistan? For 11 years straight, I have never received an official reply. Not once.

Pakistan has been shunned by PayPal for many years now. Unofficial reasoning has been plentiful and speculative at best, so I will not delve into it. My goal here is two folds:

(a). Provide a little bit of statistical information about Pakistan
(b). To help PayPal connect with the right audience (Financial Regulators, Banks, etc.) to enable them to operate here in Pakistan.

Pakistan in brief:

  • Is a country of 180+ Million people.
  • That puts us as the 6th most populous country in the world.
  • Our overall Tele Density stands at 72%,
  • Mobile Tele Density at 68.8%.
  • Current number of Cellular Users is 121+ Million.
  • The number of Internet Users in Pakistan 29+ Million
  • Facebook users are 8+ Million.
  • Banking-wise, Pakistan has made great strides. Currently their are about 16+ Million users with ATM/Debit Cards
  • Roughly 5,800 ATMs in the country
  • 35,000+ POS Machines
  • 9,300 Real-Time Online Bank Branches.
  • On Branchless Banking, Pakistan’s numbers are soaring. At present we have about 1.8 Million users who are using Branchless Banking, with quarterly growth at about 25%.

We are by no means a market that is small, under-developed or not connected. We have ATM switches allowing you to do an instant Inter-Bank Funds Transfer (debit/credit) to any bank account in Pakistan (API is offered for this). Almost all the banks offer real-time KYC and AML checks (APIs available for this as well). Despite what you may read in the media, the country is flourishing and business accumen and entrepreneurial spirits are high.

We have an active Internet population (more than the total population of Australia and New Zealand combined), and yet we are deprived of PayPal, whilst countries like Rwanda, Botswana, Fiji, Panama, Sierra Leone, Tonga and Zambia have access to PayPal.

Our economy is much larger than Bhutan, Chad, Honduras, Somalia, Maldives, Rwanda, Uganda, Yemen —combined! – Yet these countries are considered privileged enough to have PayPal, and Pakistan is not.

To put it simply: This is unfair.

I have read a lot about you, on Quora, and various other forums. How you are changing the culture at PayPal. This was enough to give me and my fellow citizens a glimmer of hope, that maybe you will honestly look at our case and communicate with us to help a dream become a reality… of having PayPal in Pakistan.

My credentials on Quora will testify that I am reasonably versed in Money & Payment Systems. I am cognisant that institutions like yours look acutely at issues like AML, KYC and other Legal & Compliance hurdles. I want to assure you, the financial regulator in Pakistan, i.e. State Bank of Pakistan will work with you to address your concerns (if any).

To the best of my knowledge nothing prevents PayPal (from a regulatory, technology or legal point of view from Pakistan’s side) for PayPal to operate here. The $64 Million question is – Why doesn’t PayPal operate here in Pakistan then?

If there are concerns within PayPal of terrorist funding, etc., then please note, that this is an issue globally not just in Pakistan.

Drug and Terrorist Financing issues are more prevalent in the West than in Pakistan (I can provide you various reports and references as published by the Senate Committees in the US and other US based institutions). Since the mechanism of PayPal payments is electronic, governed, KYC’d at both ends and monitored, there exists (in my opinion) an operable framework by which you can operate here and work with the relevant financial regulators and lawmakers to have PayPal officially launched and covered in Pakistan.

In summary, I would request you to open a dialogue, to ascertain the ground realities in Pakistan vis-a-vis to Factually Incorrect Information. I have in the past cited my willingness to help, providing information or getting PayPal connected to Banks, regulators, whomsoever you would like to meet and/or talk to. I am, in no way proposing or advocating a ‘role’ for myself – my intention is just to help you connect with the right people/institutions.

I hope you will give this issue of PayPal not being in Pakistan a genuine effort to reassess our case. I am hopeful that in PayPal’s point of view, Pakistan’s time has come to join the list of countries where PayPal is offered.

You may contact me via faisal @ or alternatively, may inbox me on Quora.

Best Regards,

Faisal Khan.



Pakistan Telecommunity Authority: Telecom Indicators.
Asia Internet Usage Stats.
State Bank of Pakistan: Payment Systems Review (Apr/Jun 2012) (PDF).
State Bank of Pakistan: Branchless Banking Newsletter (Jul/Sep 2012) (PDF).

This page was last updated on April 25, 2015.

59 thoughts on “An Open Letter to David Marcus, President @ PayPal.”

    1. @MuhammadUmairSo here is the answer to your question. Their are people (read:organisations) who are working on a localised (Pakistan only) payment system. It is high-time a localised payment system was put into play, enabling P2P payments on the digital front. It would be fair to say, such a payment system would be rolled out sometime in 2013. This would be both a payment gateway for online transactions as well as P2P payments, tied to your favorite payment instrument of choice (can be ATM, credit/debit card, etc.).However, having said that, the traction, market size and eco-system of everything connected to PayPal cannot be match by anyone at present. Its like Gmail being offered in every country, except Pakistan. How would you feel? Pretty bad right? Well Gmail might not be a worthy example per se, but imagine if Google search was everywhere but Pakistan, that would annoy you? Now would you want to develop you own global search engine or expect Google to come here?There is nothing stopping us for hatching a homegrown payment system. The two issues should not be confused. My main goal is to have PayPal and Paypal specific by name here in Pakistan. That is what the effort is all about.

  1. I think this issue was also raised before as State Bank of Pakistan was not agree to take responsibility of online payments and other online procedures. Don’t know the whole scene If someone knows about that then share please.

    1. @KarimJavedThis is ABSOLUTELY incorrect information. SBP has actually informally been probing and building up a case, to “enable” PayPal to work in Pakistan. SBP is NOT the hinderance here. In fact, there is no hinderance from a technology, connectivity, regulatory or even a legal/compliance angle. There is no responsibly that SBP has to take. SBP is a regulator. It works with banks and regulates them.

  2. You have mentioned everything except the very basic tool that is used before entering ino new markets, ts called PEST analysis. Unfortunately in the PEST analysis we are rated highly negatively hence the reluctance from foreign investors to invest in pakistan.

    1. @UmairNayyarKhanIt is not mypurviewto speculate on what tools/analysis PayPal uses to enter a market or not. I am sure if probed, Rwanda and Somalia’s PEST would be worse off than Pakistan. FYI: PayPal does not operate in Bangladesh either, I am sure the reasons differ.

  3. Get Payoneer Card, then apply for Payoneer US Payment services you will get official verified PayPal Account, thats it. Simple ! if they Don’t give us a damn then don’t beg them !

    1. @OsamaRasheedWhilst I respect your views on the given subject, the issue is not of begging them (as I see it). If there is genuinely holding PayPal back, then it becomes ourfiduciary (if you will as a citizen) to have this resolved. The goal is to enable greater PayPal access for Pakistan, as opposed to circumventing the process.

      1. Sir I really Appreciate yourefforts, indeed you took a great initiative. (Y)As individual I am always in search for solutions of such deadlocks, I found a better solution I shared with you; now your responsibility is to share this solution too to the Pakistanis :) There are many other solutions also, Like using a virtual credit card to verify paypal account one way is to buy this VCC it cost about 12$Well I am in favor that Pakistani’s should develop there own system muchefficientthan this :). Are you aware that recently Rafay Balock, One of my friends found and reported serious bugs in Paypal, they awarded him $10000, he is in direct conversation with there security officials (Who offer him a job too), he urged them why they not allow their services to prevail in Pakistan, they didn’t responded on this to him.Seems something is cooking behind, in their minds, might be their could be some lobby or something else, I seriously don’t know. What hurts to me is that you are trying from years for this but no response from them this is truly shame for them or for us you better know.So at this situation we need to introduced new solutions to our People like Payoneer who are feeling deprived from years na !I am sorry if I said anything wrong :)

  4. Great effort Faisal Khan! What we may do is contact them via reference of the person who found out security bugs in Paypal and got awarded, maybe this channel will prove the best.

  5. It is shocking news for mePaypalis not giving service inPakistan! Whatever may be cause I would not like to discuss about.. BTW it is better try to make a request. But for the regulation offoreign business policies and regulation govt should take a qualified action. I know the value ofPaypal for meI can’t move a single step without Paypal on internet.. Good luck for your best try… hope it will bring a positive responds..

      1. Darvesh Khurasani

        @OsamaRasheed??? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ??? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?? ???? ??? ??? ??? ?????????? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ?? ???? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ????? ?? ????? ???

  6. MoneyBookers/Skrill is equally acceptable and available in Pakistan. I have also written emails & contacted paypal support and forums for over 2 years but there was no response of any kind. I have a united kingdom based paypal, even then they were not answering anything positive with respect to providing their service in Pakistan. They simply don’t care.

  7. I’m impressed you are doing it for 11 years. May be PayPal doesn’t consider expanding their operations in Pakistan a safe investment due to our economical, political and social instabilities. If you think from PayPal’s perspective, the PESTEL analysis will not render a good rating and eventually their business growth model won’t allow them to explore Pakistan as a new market. The active number of internet users is 29+ million as per the statistics you’ve mentioned above. The $64 million dollar question is how many of them are actually involved in online payments? May be 2% or 5%, not more than that. So, 5% of 30 million is 1.5 million, now the question arises that how many transactions are made by these people on daily basis or what is the frequency of their transactions (online), what is the average amount per transaction?, do these people buy online or sell online, where? Pakistan or International? There are a hell lot of questions which need answers before PayPal can launch in Pakistan.I strongly support that they should expand their operations in Pakistan but the questions above need careful answers before they can take step. Also, there are some alternatives to PayPal.

    1. @AhmedJabranAhmed I agree with everything you say, but equally there is a rebuttal argument for anything against PayPal in Pakistan. A lot of people have joined this effort, within and outside Paypal. Hopefully, some movement will happen.

  8. Amazon didnt required paypal to succeed. Why Pakistan need paypal to survive digital economy. Lets make our own payment system. Read about how korean are using different mean to accept payments. There are some problem in our entire business process and market size and I have reason to state this that is why paypal is not here. HSBC one of the best bank in the word and in the region closed down, RBS closed down. This doesnt happen in RWANDA. So put your self in David Marus shoes and think like him. Remember this is a businesses decision and has to be made on facts and figures. Our internet penetration is just 9% whereas vietnam has 35%.Cheers

    1. @Amin LalaniSo let me amplify that argument:So here is the answer to your question. There are people (read: organisations and start-ups working with the financial sector) who “are” working on a localised (Pakistan only) payment systems. It is high-time a localised payment system wasput into play, enabling P2P payments on the digital front. It would be fair to say, such a payment system would be rolled out sometime in 2013. This would be both a payment gateway for online transactions as well as P2P payments, tied to your favourite payment instrument of choice (can be ATM card, credit/debit card, POS Loading, etc.). However, having said that, the traction, market size and eco-system of everything connected to PayPal cannot be match by anyone at present. PayPal is a giant when it comes to trusted P2P system. Its like Gmail being offered in every country, except Pakistan. How would you feel? Pretty bad right? Well Gmail might not be a strong enough example per se, but imagine if Google search was everywhere but Pakistan, that would annoy you? Now would you want to develop you own global search engine or expect Google to come here? I would hope the latter. Besides EVEN IF you did make a payment system, how will that help you when it comes to others, outside Pakistan. Will they adopt “your” payment system to pay you? Of course not. Will your system become so strong that it will be adopted by millions worldwide? Probable, but probably not going to happen in this lifetime (there are other more stronger P2P payment candidates out there). There is nothing stopping us for hatching a homegrown payment system. The two issues should NOT be confused. My main goal is to have PayPal and Paypal specific by name and service here in Pakistan. That is what the effort is all about and in as such, this effort and that of any other payment system should not be mixed and moulded into a single effort. AliPay is HUGE, with over 500+ Million registered users, except that most have not heard of it – AliPay is a P2P payment system like PayPal and operates out of China. They are a serious competitor to PayPal but have not been able to dislodge the trust, the brand and the eco-system of PayPal. Put any person in front of a white board for a couple fo hours and they will hash out a payment system. Brand recognition, traction, eco-system, partners, users, availability, etc. are things that make a payment system successful. For the past 12 years, no one has been able to seriously dent PayPal’s dominance in the P2P market.

      1. @babushka99@Amin Lalani Talking about Google – it is still absent in the local market. search for buy book online and google wouldnt show you libertybooks or paradisebooks. Inventing our own payment? Yes thats what we got to do. Its egg and chicken situation – who will come first paypal or local gateway. Now we have UBL payment gateway, let see how many are integrating it.

  9. I have sent them a few emails over the year. The last reply I got was back in 2008 or 2009 when they said it’s not feasible for them to start services in Pakistan because it’s not their target market.Still searching for the email to post it here..

  10. Are you sure the local banks are not a (political) problem here? They have hefty transfer fees andoffer no fraud protection forinternet transactions. What they do it block the card forinternetuse and you have to make a call and sometimes pay a fee to unblock it. Thats a lot of friction as compared to paypal where you just need to enter your username and password to pay.Also another argument you could make it the recetn introduction of IBAN in Pakistan, which should reduce the friction of itnernational transfers to and from Pakistan

    1. @m8rp7m3p1Yes Banks (local) are not an issue. The purchasing arrangement within the PayPal ecosystem has nothing to do with the local banks and what they charge for transfer fees. Fraud transactions protection for transactions made on the Internet (by Pakistani Banks) have nocorrlationfor PayPal to enter Pakistani market.

  11. Well a positive initiative on behalf of all Pakistani Internet users.We must support and encourage others to enter in Pakistani market,which has immense potential for modren Financial schemes.

  12. Faisal Khan your initiavtive and persuasive power is will bear the fruit I am confident…equally praisworthy is the participation of so many fellow coountrymen..with a sipiit of dedication…I feel elevated.

  13. i really appreciate your initiativeI myself worte to paypal as well…but ofcourse they shunned me i really hope you recieve a reply and pay pal really consider it…cuz in whole lot of way the will also be benefitting

  14. It’s a nice and appreciable work you have done on the behalf of Pakistan…But to my knowledge the issue lies between the licensing and taxes (plus undocumented bribes) which Pakistani Govt and autharative departments desire from investors…… most of the investors won’t go for these unreliable cost of operating…. I hope there will be a change at both ends that would go in favour of the Pakistani users…

    1. @KARAgain, absolutely incorrect information. I would refrain from posting anything of which you do not have first-hand, authentic / prior information of please.

      1. @babushka99@KAR I have been using Credit Cards for online purchasing of books and other study materials from major US associations like PMI, IACCM and NCMA etc. from Pakistan. They are always happy to transact and no issue ever surfaced. For whatever reasons Kindle, B&N and PayPal refuse to transact in Pakistan, are not given any consideration by the Apple Inc. which offers all its products for sale to Pakistan through Apple Store and iTunes. This shows that the reasons given by Kindle, B&N and PayPal are frivolous, biased and discriminatory. Apple’s example should be fair enough for PayPal to start transacting with Pakistani online purchasers in a secure environment.. We definitely are a market much bigger and much sofisticated than Rwanda.

  15. Hi Faisal you did great effort for Pakistani Nation, I appreciate it from deep of my heart. but i also suggest you please send the similar requested letter along with the copy of above PayPal letter to following peoples who serving a key role in Pakistan from United States:You can find contacts of these peoples from little Googling..Rodger Garner ( Acting Director of the USAID Mission in PakistanRichard G. Olson ( Current Ambassador of the United States to PakistanCameron Munter ( United States Ambassador to Pakistan In office October 2010 July 2012Anne W. Patterson ( United States Ambassador to Pakistan In office July 31, 2007 October 5, 2010Hope these peoples will do something for Pakistan. as USAID say’s Roshan Pakistan… So ask them where is PayPal it is also basic thing to boost Pakistan economy.Thanks:)

  16. PayPal Should come in Pakistan as there is a big market, mostly people are using 2co and other ways to receive payments but still can not send payment.It would be great and will open many opportunities and ultimatelyPayPal gets benefits as well.Raj kumar TalrejaFounder / CEOZero 360 Web Technologies

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