Only 30 percent of Pakistanis claim to have heard the word “ATM” and understand its meaning, leaving 70 percent of Pakistani population totally unfamiliar with the term, let alone using it.
This was found during a survey that Gallup Pakistan and HORUS Development finance jointly conducted just recently. Gallup Pakistan says that it interviewed over 10,000 households across Pakistan for the survey.
The primary aim of the study was to determine the extent of financial services being used by Pakistanis as well as to provide insights into the barriers faced by the Pakistani public in accessing formal financial services.
A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces were asked, “Please tell me if you have heard the following word: ATM.”
In response to question: “Please tell me if you have heard the following word: ATM?”
In response, 33 percent respondents said that they never heard the word ATM while another 37 percent of respondents had heard the word “ATM” but didn’t know its purpose or meaning. Only 30 percent of respondents had heard the word ATM and knew its purpose and meaning.
The 30 percent figure, which shows an increasing public awareness level about ATMs in a period of past five years, happened because of the deployment and increased utility of ATMs due to introduction of BISP cards and uptake of branchless banking mainly in rural areas.
This is a a sad state of affairs not only for government and authorities but also for banking industry as well as for telecom industry that offers branchless banking solutions through various channels including ATMs.
According to State Bank of Pakistan statistics, there are more than 27,000 ATMs across the country that are used to banking customers to withdraw nearly Rs. 250 billion each month
Rural and Urban Breakdown
A rural/urban breakdown reveals that 47% of the respondents in urban areas and 21% in rural areas have heard and understand the meaning of the word ‘ATM’. ‘
With a considerable difference of 26%, this shows that there is a slightly greater awareness of ATMs in urban areas as opposed to rural areas.
This difference may also be seen as a manifestation of the considerable disparity in the socio-economic development between the urban and rural areas of Pakistan.
34% in the urban areas said that they have heard the word but do not understand its meaning while the same answer was given by 39% of the respondents in rural areas. However, only 19% respondents in urban areas had never heard of ATMs as opposed to 40% rural respondents.
An overwhelming majority of residents in Baluchistan (60%) have never heard of the word ATM whereas 54% respondents in KPK are aware of the word but do not understand its meaning
According to the provincial breakdown, financial literacy regarding ATMs in Pakistan is generally low. 30% of the respondents in Punjab, 40% in Sindh, 18% in KPK and 14% in Baluchistan said that they have heard of the word ‘ATM’ and understand its meaning.
However, 31% of the respondents in Punjab, 34% in Sindh, 27% in KPK and 60% in Baluchistan have never heard of the word ATM. Meanwhile, 39% respondents in Punjab, 26% in Sindh, 54% in KPK and 26% in Baluchistan have heard of ATMs but are not unaware of the meaning and purpose of an ATM.
These results are a part of the nationwide Access to Finance Study conducted by the State Bank of Pakistan in 2015 with the intent of determining the degree of financial inclusiveness of the Pakistani public.