Nepal Rastra Bank has finally allowed international payment for the purchase of goods and services online.
Issuing a circular on Sunday, NRB has informed that ‘A’ class and ‘B’ class commercial banks can issue a prepaid card with a foreign currency.
The notice issued by the Foreign Exchange Management Department of NRB says that some amendments have been made in the Unified Directive-2076.
According to the release, the maximum limit for the pre-paid card is 500 US dollars.
Much needed start from NRB
Digital payments have evolved tremendously in the last few years. With this, the world has become like a global village where we can enjoy services and purchase products from anywhere in the world by paying digitally.
But, in the absence of a legal international gateway, Nepali residents have been paying for international digital services through their relatives or by using Paypal.
Due to this gap in the legal channel, consumers are also compelled to rely on middlemen to purchase goods and services from the international channel.
Many customers have been paying for Netflix through Netflix gift card sellers on the Facebook group, bearing the risk of fraud.
With the approval of pre-paid cards, now consumers here can pay for over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Disney Plus, Facebook Ads, international web hosting services, and other international digital services.
This pre-paid card is also believed to help the community of online freelancers and professionals who need access to international digital services and products.
Limitation and Guidelines
NRB has approved the use of the card with some restrictions and guidelines. According to the guidelines, existing funds in Nepali Rupees in the bank account can be converted to foreign currency for international payment.
The guideline also says that one consumer can only acquire one payment card and they are allowed to purchase the services which are allowed by law. The customer will need to update know your customer (KYC) and Permanent Account Number (PAN) number to apply for the pre-paid card.
The guideline also mentions that if the cardholder can generate foreign income amounting to at least double the card amount of $500, additional funds may be deposited to the card.
A few months ago, NRB had added a provision of an international payment system in the first quarter review of the Monetary Policy of the fiscal year 2077/78.
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