Now entrepreneurs and start-ups can sell their products online and get online payment from international cardholders.
To promote and the use of digital payments and to reap the advantage of digital economy, the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA), in collaboration with the banks has initiated the international payment gateway (IPG) facility.
The facility can accept payments from cards of all international card networks, including VISA, MasterCard, American Express and others. The service is available with the Bank of Bhutan and the Bhutan National Bank since 2015 and 2019, respectively. As on date, the service is availed by more than 400 local merchants, including close to 200 tour operators.
In addition, the domestic payment gateway, launched by the RMA, accepts online domestic payment for a majority of services provided by the Royal Government of Bhutan. Apart from these, other service providers like Bhutan Power Corporation, Telecoms and others also have direct integration with the respective bank’s mobile apps for processing the payments.
The Director of Information and Technology department of RMA, Sherub Jamtsho said that IPG requires businesses to have a website through which they sell their products or services, and on which, a link to the payment option through the IPG is available on registration.
He said that once the payment option is
implemented on the website, their products and services can be purchased using
any internationally accepted card
brands from the comfort of their homes.
Apart from the IPG, the other digital payment methods are also available through the banks in the country, Money Transfer Operators (MTOs), Ria, Xpress Money, MoneyGram, SWIFT Transfer Facility and remittance facilities.
Sherub Jamtsho said that as part of the effort to facilitate access to digital payments and to promote inclusion, we encourage the merchants/businesses in Bhutan who want to export their products and services outside the country, to leverage these digital payments by enabling new internet-based business models.
An official from Software Division, of aBit private limited said that entrepreneurs get the platform to the most awaited international market to launch their products. “With the introduction of the payment gateway it opens up more opportunities for our local producers to take their products and be able to receive their payments without any hassles.” He said that as products can be sold to an international market, now they can have huge range of different customers.
“Bhutan being a small market economy for the producers to be able to sustain, amid the pandemic the economic breakdown has become very evident. Due to the crash of the tourism sector, it has proven yet more difficult for the sustenance of start-ups and SMEs. As most of the countries are already into online business, i feel that this is the right time to market your products,” said the official from aBit.
Media focal person of Bank of Bhutan (BoB), Passng Norbu said that with internet, people all over the world are now using online platform for buying and selling of goods, merchandise, services, and making payment through debit or credit cards or other non-cash mode.
For example, selling of books by online store Amazon, selling of various items by E-bay, buying Air tickets online, booking tours online, paying tax online have all become commonplace, and people are using their debit or credit cards to pay for all these online, from their laptops, at the comfort of their homes.
“To facilitate this online selling of goods and services within and across country, an E-Payment Gateway is required,” he said.
He said that with this people all over the world, including Bhutanese can purchase airline tickets, book hotel rooms, and a tour in Bhutan, using their VISA or MasterCard debit or credit cards. This also can be used for payment of utility and tax/revenue collection with the use of Cards. BoB will also be facilitating payment option through internet banking subsequently.
He said BoB provides an internationally recognized and used E-Payment Gateway, certified with all international security standard requirements like PCIDSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). All payment information, including credit card number, name, address, etc. is encrypted via Secure Socket Layout (SSL) during order checkout. “SSL is industry standard technology that ensures that all information sent to us remains private and cannot be read by any third parties during transmission. It also has3D secure facility like Verified by Visa and MasterCard Secure Code to make online transaction secure.” He said that the service automates the payment transaction between the shopper and merchant. An E-Payment Gateway allows a connection directly between a website and a bank, meaning that payments can be placed directly on a website and deposited straight into a bank account of Merchant.
To avail BoBL payment gateway facilities, interested merchants would require fully functional and owned dynamic website, functional purchase/booking engine at website and the merchant must enroll with BoBL for ecommerce and maintain an account with BoB.
Merchant Service Fee (MSF) rate is 3.5% of the transaction amount.
BoB has about more 240 registered IPG merchants as of now, while BNB has about 200.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu