SBP governor calls for secure branchless banking transactions

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SBP Diary - SBP News

KARACHI: Yaseen Anwar, governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on Thursday said that branchless banking is going to dominate the retail banking landscape in the long-term.




He, however, stressed the need to maintain high levels of safety, security and protection of consumers’ interests.


Speaking at the 6th international conference on mobile banking in Pakistan, the SBP governor said that since branchless banking is becoming a vital component of the national payment grid, it is prudent for all stakeholders to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to mitigate the inherent risks associated with it like access by unauthorised persons / criminals such as hackers, money launderers, terrorist financiers, etc.


This can only be achieved when technologies are robust and secured and agents are comprehensively trained and effectively monitored by the banks, he added.


“A single failure of branchless banking deployment can erode the public confidence in the system, which in turn may jeopardise the whole sector,” the SBP governor said, adding that being fully cognizant of the risk factors involved in such unconventional modes of banking, the central bank has been proactively monitoring developments and associated risks both at the system and entity levels in order to take appropriate corrective measures in a timely manner.


Talking about mobile banking, Anwar said that the usage of innovative and unconventional channels would dominate the conventional means of business and communication, as evidenced by the high mobile phone subscription witnessed in Pakistan.


The number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 120 million, he added.


Since the issuance of branchless banking regulations in 2008, several branchless banking models have been deployed.


The United Bank Limited’s (UBL) Omni and Tameer Bank’s Easypaisa have already gained substantial ground and have established themselves as market leaders, Anwar governor.


Two new services (MobiCash and Timepey) have just launched, while two are running live pilots, he added. Moreover, all the four mobile network operators in partnership with some of the largest banks have already launched their branchless banking services or are at the final stages of launching, the central bank governor said.


Highlighting the branchless banking performance, he said that with the entrance of new and strong players, branchless banking has already seen acceleration.


The number of agent network servicing branchless banking customers has reached 42,000.


A total of 194 million transactions have been carried out worth Rs813 billion.


More than two million m-wallets have been opened to-date and these numbers will improve significantly.


Along with the tremendous growth in the branchless banking sector, the infrastructure of payment systems and branch network is also showing an increasing growth trend, he said.


The automated teller machines (ATMs) network has increased to 6,232, whereas branch network has reached 11,600.94 percent of the branches, which are now real-time online.

Similarly, the number of plastic cards has increased to 20 million and the number of POS machines has increased to 34,000 units.


Branchless banking has also proved to be an effective instrument in channelising the government-to-person (G2P) payments in trying times such as serving internally displaced persons and devastating floods for the last two years.


The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) beneficiaries are also being served effectively through the same mechanism.


In the coming days, this channel is expected to continue to play an important role towards the promotion of financial inclusion and the management of the government-to-person (G2P) programmes such as salaries disbursements, pensions, BISP, Watan Cards, Pakistan Cards and tax collections services, etc.


The existing branchless banking deployments can cater to the needs of over 10 million potential beneficiaries of G2P payments in Pakistan, he added.

Courtesy: The News


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