In a significant development in the tech industry, freelancers in Pakistan now have the opportunity to receive international payments through Apple Pay and Google Pay. This leap forward comes after the financial technology startup Sadapay announced its integration with these international payment platforms, addressing a long-standing issue faced by Pakistani gig workers who offer their services to foreign clients via platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. However, it’s essential to note that this integration is an initial step, not a comprehensive launch of these platforms in Pakistan.
What It Does
Apple Pay and Google Pay are mobile payment services developed by Apple and Google, respectively, and are compatible with their respective operating systems. If you own an Apple product, such as an iPhone, Mac, or Apple Watch, you can use Apple Pay in person, within iOS apps, and online. Google Pay, on the other hand, is designed for Android users.
By digitizing cash and debit card transactions, Apple Pay and Google Pay aim to streamline in-person and online payments. In Pakistan, these platforms will initially be enabled exclusively for online transactions through Sadapay. This is a significant development for gig workers in the country.
The Freelancer Equation
The freelancing market in Pakistan is more extensive than one might think. With relatively lower salaries, particularly in the software industry, many young professionals have transitioned from traditional 9-5 jobs to self-employment. They use platforms like Upwork and Fiverr to work for foreign clients who appreciate the affordability of skilled labor in Pakistan. In turn, these clients pay in foreign currency, creating a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Freelancers in Pakistan earned approximately $400 million in both 2021 and 2022, accounting for about 15% of Pakistan’s total $2.6 billion in ICT (information-communication-technology) exports. Pakistan ranks fourth globally in the digital gig marketplace, with about 8% of the total freelance work in 2017. This remarkable position is attributed to the increasing number of qualified graduates who have embraced freelancing.
The primary challenge for these freelancers has been receiving payments. Pakistani banks have made it difficult to receive foreign exchange payments, and PayPal is not an option in Pakistan. However, Apple Pay and Google Pay, with 500 million and 150 million global users, respectively, offer viable alternatives. This means that numerous foreign employers can use these platforms to make payments. Apple Pay, being four times larger than PayPal, provides freelancers in Pakistan with access to potentially 650 million clients worldwide.
To facilitate this, Sadapay has introduced Sadabizz, a platform designed for businesses rather than individual users. Freelancers can create business accounts on Sadapay, enabling them to receive payments through Apple Pay and Google Pay. Freelancers can send payment requests through Sadapay, allowing clients to click on the link, enter their information, and complete the transaction in seconds.
In the past year, Apple Pay recorded an impressive $6 trillion in payment volume, with 550 million users, surpassing PayPal’s $1.4 trillion from 450 million users. Apple Pay’s 52% year-over-year growth, in contrast to PayPal’s 8% decrease, indicates substantial potential for further expansion. This integration offers freelancers a seamless way to accept payments from a vast clientele base of 700 million people worldwide.
Is Sadapay Targeting the Freelance Market?
This development is a game-changer for freelancers. It enables foreign clients with iPhones worldwide to quickly and easily pay freelancers in Pakistan, eliminating the need for traditional payment platforms. It’s also a strategic move on the part of Sadapay, which is targeting a lucrative niche market.
Sadapay Business accounts will have higher account limits than regular Sadapay accounts, which have a monthly receivable cap of Rs 4 lakhs. Brandon Timinsky, SadaPay’s Founder and CEO, announced this during the SadaSummit held at COLABS Lahore. The event focused on mastering freelancing in Pakistan, a concept that has gained widespread popularity in recent years.
“By using SadaPay and bypassing traditional freelancing platforms, freelancers can save a significant amount of money on platform fees, which can often range from 10% to 30%,” said the Sadapay CEO.
The move appears to be a dedicated effort to promote the freelance culture in Pakistan. Sadapay also launched SadaSchool, an online platform offering masterclasses for freelancers to enhance their portfolios.
Waqas Hassan, CEO of SadaSchool, talked about the vision behind the program, which aims to establish a robust ecosystem tailored for freelancers within Pakistan. Drawing inspiration from Singapore’s transformation into an entrepreneurial economy in 2011, SadaSchool is determined to foster a vibrant community of freelancers in the region. With the increasing prevalence of remote work, freelancers play a pivotal role in Pakistan’s economy, making their growth and support a priority.
Brandon emphasized that SadaSchool will allow users to take free masterclasses on the platform and receive peer support and mentorship. Tasks are assigned, and users can upload their progress on Discord. This commitment extends not only to nurturing freelancers but also to expanding the SadaSchool ecosystem, significantly contributing to Pakistan’s economic growth.
In conclusion, the integration of Apple Pay and Google Pay through Sadapay is a significant step forward for freelancers in Pakistan. It not only makes it easier for them to receive international payments but also offers potential access to a vast global clientele. This development is poised to promote the freelance culture in Pakistan and contribute to the country’s economic growth.
- How can freelancers in Pakistan receive payments through Apple Pay and Google Pay? Freelancers can set up business accounts on Sadapay, enabling them to receive payments from international clients through Apple Pay and Google Pay.
- How does Sadapay support the freelance community in Pakistan? Sadapay not only facilitates payments but also offers educational resources through SadaSchool, helping freelancers enhance their skills.
- What is the potential impact of this integration on Pakistan’s economy? The integration of Apple Pay and Google Pay through Sadapay is expected to contribute to the growth of the freelance sector and, subsequently, Pakistan’s economy.
- Is Sadapay planning to expand its services further for freelancers? Yes, Sadapay is committed to nurturing and supporting freelancers and aims to expand its ecosystem to benefit Pakistan’s economy.