Adoption of digital payments could yield Rs 181.5bn yearly in net benefits to consumers, businesses, and government in Karachi, Visa global study reveals

Visa-commissioned study, “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, indicates that by 2032, cashless payments could increase Karachi’s employment by 4.7%

Karachi (Muhammad Yasir Visa (NYSE:V), the world leader in digital payments, launched an independent study that examines the economic impact of increasing the use of digital payments in major cities around the world, including Karachi. The global Visa report, titled “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa, was launched during a media event with the support of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

The findings as part of the study reveal that an increased usage of digital payments, such as cards and mobile payments, could potentially yield a net benefit of US$ 1.5 billion (Rs 181.5 billion) annually to consumers, businesses, and government in Karachi.

The Cashless Cities study quantifies the immediate and long-term benefits for three main groups in Karachi:

  • Consumers, who could save nearly US$ 0.1 billion (Rs 12.1 billion) in time savings while conducting banking, retail and transit transactions, as well as a reduction in cash-related fraud;
  • Businesses, which could recover approximately US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 133.1 billion) in time savings while processing incoming and outgoing payments, and increased sales revenues stemming from extended online and in-store customer bases; and
  • Government, which could save nearly US$ 0.3 billion (Rs 36.3 billion) from factors including increased tax revenues, economic growth, and cost savings from administrative efficiencies.

Visa’s global study does not look at eliminating cash; rather, it evaluates the benefits that can be derived when a city transitions to an “achievable level of cashlessness” – defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equivalent to the top 10% of its users today.

Commenting on the results, Kamil Khan, Country Manager for Visa in Pakistan said: “As the government of Pakistan pushes forward with the ‘Digital Pakistan’ policy-led initiative, digital payments offer an immense, untapped opportunity to boost the country’s economic growth. With the rising rate of smart phone penetration in Pakistan and eCommerce forecasted to be worth U$ 1 billion by 2020[1], the use of digital payment methods is expected to increase significantly, paving the way for the transition to a cashless economy. Visa is well positioned to work with valuable partners such as the KCCI as well as with government bodies, the merchant community, banks and consumers to drive the adoption of cashless payments and aid in the country’s transformation to a knowledge economy.”

The guest of honour and key speaker at the event, Muffasar Atta Malik, President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, commented: “I believe this initiative from Visa ties in well with the KCCI’s vision to improve the business environment and economic well-being of Pakistan, especially that of Karachi. Visa’s Cashless Cities study encapsulates unique findings that will prove to be of great interest to our industry experts, thought leaders and decision-makers in the country. The use of cash is not only time consuming, but it is inefficient and often risky, and this study underpins that view by highlighting the significant and tangible benefits people, businesses and government of Karachi can realise by going cashless.”


Majeed Hujair, Senior Director, School of Public Policy for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), Visa, commented: “According to a World Bank report approximately 100 million adults in Pakistan don’t have access to regulated financial services, accounting for 5% of the world’s unbanked population[2]. Also, there is an inherent lack of trust when it comes to conducting digital transactions. However, our study demonstrates the many benefits smart payments can bring to Karachi’s economic drivers, with results indicating that by 2032, adoption of cashless payments could potentially increase employment by 4.7% and GDP growth rates by 14.3 basis points. These results also find their significance at a time when the country has launched its first major digital policy aimed towards creating more job opportunities and accelerating economic growth. We look forward to working as a strategic partner of the government to help realize these objectives by enabling the merchant community and consumers with the shift to digital payments.”

“Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments” offers over 60 recommendations for all ecosystem participants, including decision makers, to help their cities become more efficient through greater adoption of digital payments. These include undertaking financial literacy programs to help move the unbanked into the banking system and implementing incentives to stimulate innovation focused on launching new payment technologies.

Full findings of the study, as well as the online visualization tool, can be found on