SBP Directs Banks To Take Action Against Branchless Banking Agents for Overcharging

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), through a new policy framework, has directed commercial banks and microfinance banks to take prompt action against their agents for overcharging customers in the name of service fee.

The action will include termination of agents’ contract besides their name will be included in the centrally maintained blacklist to make sure that same agent isn’t employed again by any other bank as a partner agent.

The overcharging of fees by branchless banking is one of the wrongdoings which have been observed largely at different agents’ shops who openly demand extra Rs 10 to 20 for processing utility bills (electricity, gas and water).

However, there are different malpractices by branchless banking agents which will be checked by banks and microfinance banks time to time to stop and penalize them.

SBP’s framework identified following issed to be checked by banks and financial institutes:

  • Involvement in frauds and forgeries.
  • Misreporting to banks.
  • Large number of customer complaints.
  • Serious non-compliance issues as identified by compliance, internal audit or SBP inspection.
  • Involvement in illegal banking activities.
  • Unauthorized agency transfer.
  • Transactions with banned/ proscribed persons/entities.
  • Account opening or fund transfer transactions on the basis of fake or incorrect information/document.
  • Frequent denial of service by agent to the customers.
  • Others- to be specified and deemed appropriate by banks and microfinance banks.

Frequent service denial is also observed by those retail agents having less availability of cash to meet fund requirements of a receiver from a sender of money.

Further, it has become common that branchless banking agents provide fund transfer services to customers against CNIC copy of others, which is also violation under this new framework.

The central bank spelled out these checks and balances in the Framework for Branchless Banking Agent Acquisition and Management (Framework) recently issued in addition to BB Regulations to supplement the entire branchless banking regulatory environment.

Broadly, the Framework aims to facilitate the implementation of agent banking, in a robust, reliable, safe and sustainable manner whilst safeguarding consumer interests and confidentiality. The Framework operates on the premise that banks retain the ultimate responsibility and accountability of all agent-based BB activities and protection of BB customers

There are nine branchless banking services operating in the country. All of them are being functioned on bank-led model hence the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is supervising their operations.

Out of nine, seven service providers collaborated with telecom companies including Easypaisa, Upaisa, Mobilepaisa, Jazzcash, MeezanUpaisa, Timepey. Two of the banks—HBL and UBL are running their branchless banking in collaboration with different telecom operators.

So far, there are 301,823 agents throughout the country. Among them 232,637 agents are declared as active by State Bank of Pakistan.

  • Its right they can ask for any amount of there choice without any proper documentation or proof.

  • Retailers are charging Rs. 10 to 20 on top just on bill payment. Forget the other services. Everywhere in country there are mafias. And Mafias work in our country openly n without any fear. Dankay ki choot pe.

  • They should be suspended from their agent status, whenever they they found guilty of extra charging costumers or refusing cash in out services to mobile account.
    Whenever I asked Easypaisa agent to send money to another Easypaisa account. They refused to do so. Instead they’re eagerly interested to send money to NIC. dah

    • Great, so you wanna say that agents should send free money to easypaisa account holder in other city, and save you fees?? This is illegal!! You idiot potato.

      • ^Agent Detected…. Sharam karo… Corrupt agents like you, zyada kamai k chakar mai awam ko zalil wo khuwar karte rehte hain. Chunke CNIC to Mobile Account k charges kam hote hain is liye har tum jaisa agent sirf CNIC to CNIC ki service mai hi interested hota hai. dah

  • companies ko bi tu retailer ka commission zayada karna chahy, kiu ky agar company expense zayada ho rahy hein tu retailer bi tu esi dunya mein rahta hai. agar retailer mobicash ka 25000 cashin karta hai tu serf 25 sy 30 repees commission milta hai

  • The way Timepey agents of zong has looted the IDPs of waziristan can not be explained in words. IDPs were so used to it that they used to ask for the “Katooti rate” everywhere beside the commission they used to deduct Rs 3000/ 2000 depending on the aid they are getting. I have seen those poor people suffering.

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