SadaPay, Best Branchless Bank or a Gaping Hole?

SadaPay is a phenominal digital payment service in Pakistan that gives free bank account, debit card & virtual card with no hidden fees to its users
SadaPay digital payment service

Yea, its definitely the former! We have yet to find a better banking experience in Pakistan. SadaPay, please stay!

So what is SadayPay?

SadaPay is one of the best digital payment services to have recently launched public services in Pakistan. As an EMI they fill the gaping hole left by traditional banking institutions in Pakistan.

Let us elaborate on this for you.

Every traditional bank wants a payslip and a plethora of pledges to open a bank account which means freelancers strike out. They don’t get debit card or have access to anything that banking systems offer. Instead of arguing with bankers, they keep their money in the Payoneer account (which they are using anyway to get their funds from Upwork and Fiverr)

With fintech SadaPay, you get free financial services like a bank account number, IBAN, a virtual debit card and a physical debit card. Users have the option to receive funds, shop online, make purchases via debit card in stores, do ATM withdrawals and conduct international payments on Google Play, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Netflix etc. Basically its a great step in Pakistani fintech arena.

SadPay users get a free Mastercard debit card which is also Pakistan’s first numberless card. On top of this you get a digital wallet. Once you have both, you can enjoy seamless cross border and local transfers. And, because of zero paperwork requirements, SadaPay opens up the arena for financial inclusion for everyone including freelancers.

Let’s dive further into SadaPay and its digital payments platform.

Benefits of SadaPay

SadaPay users benefit on every step;

Branchless Banking System

SadaPay helps you avoid visits to physical bank branches. Your mobile number is your bank account number under the bank titled ‘SADAPAY’

Transactions

Like all modern financial services, SadaPay is fast! From international payments, to local transfers, online shopping, loading money, and even the customer experience is very smooth when speaking to a rep. Furthermore, if the reps don’t have an answer, they will speak to the relevant people and get them for you (though it can take a few hours).

Secure

SadaPay guarantees the safety and security of its customers’ details and accounts. It uses high-level bank security and encryption methods to ensure this. Furthermore, it is governed by the State Bank of Pakistan as an EMI and approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

This goes to show its credentials as a trustworthy organization that has met the requirements set forth by these bodies.

Avoid High Costs

SadaPay charges no fees or commissions for its services. The only fee it does have is on the 4th ATM Withdrawal and if there is an international payment.

No Hidden Charges

Pakistani financial institutions are notorious for hidden fees. Not SadaPay. Nope! There are no hidden charges or any fee lurking around the corner for SadaPay users. Each transaction is broken down into parts. The original transaction amount, the FX conversion + FED, the WHT fee (applies on foreign currency transactions from 1 July 2022). They also tell you the exchange rate which was used. :)

SadaPay Mastercard

SadaPay Mastercard is numberless, gives access to 30 million global merchants online and in-store.

Accept International Transactions

SadaPay gives an IBAN which you can use to receive payments from individuals and businesses in over 45 countries. At the time of writing this review, SadaPay users can receive payments from Wise, Remitly, WorldRemit, MoneyGram, ACE and Payoneer. Talk about reach!

Expand Digital Payment Services

SadaPay is simple and intuitive to use. You can expand your transaction limit from PKR 50,000/Month to 200k through its online biometric verification system. Yep! Your phone app on its own can do it and you won’t have to step into NADRA’s service center or a bank branch.

How to Register on SadaPay

To register via SadaPay application, you will need the following:

  • A selfie
  • A photo of your CNIC card
  • Some personal details, including your name and email address

At the moment, SadaPay has a waitlist for people who want to register for its digital service. You will be required to fill in your name, phone number, and email address. And when your number comes up, you will be invited to join. Use our link to join the waitlist.

What are SadaPay’s Charges?

While SadaPay does not charge you for its digital wallet services, there are some charges you will incur for certain usage.

For instance, you can make three ATM withdrawals a month for free at any Pakistani ATM. After this, you will be charged PKR 23.44 any time you make an ATM withdrawal.

There is a replacement fee of PKR 500 for Mastercard, while PayPak card has an annual fee of PKR 700. See the full list of charges here. SadaPay also has no hard feelings if you cannot maintain a minimum balance because there is no minimum requirement.

International Transactions Charges

I added my card to Google Play USA and got FX fee charges. Well, the shocking bit was that it’s the lowest ever I’ve seen. Its 1.50% on online transactions such as Amazon, Microsoft or Google Play (that’s where I’ve tested so far). To double check, I loaded my Amazon card with $10, as you know, Amazon prefers its own Amazon Pay service for overseas transactions. It offered me a PKR rate, I however, changed the transaction to USD and let SadaPay deal with the charges. Guess what? Even with the 1.5% exchange rate and the 1% WHT, I saved PKR 10 on a $10 transaction against the rate Amazon was giving that day at the time. Mind you, if you use Amazon’s conversion and pay in PKR, you don’t get hit by the 1.5% fee but still need to pay the 1% WHT. So I saved PKR 30 on a $10 transaction.

The same charges apply for international POS machines. ATM withdrawals are 1.50% + PKR 250. You can see the schedule of charges for SadaPay below.

SadaPay
SadaPay’s schedule of Charges from July 2022

Contacting SadaPay

You can contact SadaPay via their website contact form; we tried and received an email within five minutes. This led us to the conclusion that their support team is diligent.

The Head Office is located at Executive Heights, 2nd Floor, 65-West, Block H, G 7/2, Blue Area, Islamabad, 44000.

If you already have the app and their working account, then just use the support chat button to get quick resolutions.

Conclusion

SadaPay is welcome relief to Pakistan’s growing number of freelancers who have faced difficulties in opening a bank account in their name in the past. With access to SadaPay they can start receiving their payments in Pakistan instead of keeping it overseas in a Payoneer or Wise account. For those who already have bank accounts and frequently shop online, the service saves them on FX fees which ranges from 2.5 – 5% depending on the bank’s charges. Currently SadaPay has the lowest fee in Pakistan.

Having used their service for over 2 months, we can safely say that that they are worth the hype and their customer service is a credit to them. SadaPay will launch their Merchant solutions in a couple of months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does SadaPay support iOS?

Yes! It is the highest ranking app in Pakistan’s App Store. It is also available on Google Play Store.

How soon do I get an invite after I join the wait list?

According to chat support and our analysis on the current wait list it takes approx. 2 months after joining the wait list to receive an invite.

Does SadaPay work for international payments?

Yes. You can use SadaPay to make international transactions.

Is SadaPay free?

Yes. Since it is a digital financial company, it does not have much by way of overhead. As a result, the company can afford to serve its customers for free and not charge them fees. As to how it earns, Mastercard pays it a fee when people transact with their cards. Also, it earns when it processes international payments / remittances and through its payroll solutions.

How is an international transaction calculated?

An international transaction is broken into 3 parts. The Base amount, FX cost and WHT fees. Where
Base amount = Transaction amount * conversion fee
FX cost = FX transaction amount * 1.5% + 16% FED tax on the value of FX transaction amount * 1.5%
WHT = 2% or 1% of base amount (1% for tax filers)

How long does it take for SadaPay to refund the 1% WHT charges?

According to in app chat support they take 15 days to refund the 1% WHT. Their app says its 10 days. If you dont see a refund after 10 business days then reach out to their support.

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