Payment via DCB to purchase Google services will continue for one month

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Islamabad: In a major relief to many confused users, the Ministry of Finance on Thursday directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to delay the implementation of the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) policy for one month, enabling users to continue paying with their mobile balance.

Last week, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reportedly suspended payments to international service providers via the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) mechanism due to which payments of $34 million on an annual basis through mobile companies to international service providers, including Google, Amazon, and Meta, among others, got stuck.

This triggered the fear among users that Google would completely shut down its Play Services in Pakistan, making it impossible to download apps from its store. But the news was not completely true. Users were allowed to make payments via a credit/debit card only and not via the DCB — through mobile balance. The news was confirmed by Google.

“Google Play is and will remain accessible to all users in Pakistan. However, the payment options available may change over time. Due to local requirements, users in Pakistan will be able to make Play Store purchases only with credit or debit card beginning December 1, 2022, until other payment methods are made available.” Google said in a statement.

However, the government has agreed to a proposal of Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque about evolving an effective mechanism and making payment against the Google App services.

“The State Bank of Pakistan had been directed to delay the implementation of the Direct Carrier Billing (#DCB) policy for one month,” Amin Ul Haque said.

He said that the telecom operators had been given a one-month time to implement payment procedures and, within a month, the Ministry of IT, Finance, and State Bank would formulate a plan of action in mutual consultation in that regard.

“After the agreement, the payment would be made to Google as per the schedule and all its application services to remain intact,” the statement read.

He said that on the request of the telecom operators for assistance, a letter was written to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to make the payments and formulate a time frame. The minister expressed gratitude to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Bajwa for the timely decision on the issue.

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