​Banks Could Meet Only 55% of Public Demand For Fresh Currency Notes

State Bank of Pakistan’s SMS service (8877) for new currency notes has disappointed majority of the Pakistanis as entire banking industry could meet merely 55 percent demand of public for fresh currency notes.

The central bank’s statistics revealed that 1.3 million individuals requested for fresh currency notes through SMS, out of which around 55% of users received fresh cash from 500 designated branches in 116 cities.

SMS codes were provided to some 1.3 million customers who availed services within early days as thousands of people did not even receive the code, but were instead responded by State Bank with a message saying: “Dear Citizen, this branch has reached its booking limit, select any other nearest branch for booking”.

Not to be mentioned, each message sent to 8877 — regardless of the response — was charged at Rs 2 per SMS.

Masses having bank accounts when approached their respective branches were told that SBP introduced SMS services hence individual requests could not be entertained as the branches were not provided with fresh currency notes and the whole system is centralized based on the SMS-based application.

All those customers who gate late in obtaining SMS codes, or were late in collecting the cash from banks weren’t entertained and only active and well-informed people could get fresh notes

Rs 130 billion of Fresh Cash Distributed in 2016

SBP data said that commercial banks have been provided fresh cash of approximately Rs. 130 billion which included Rs 25 billion of lower denomination (up to Rs 100) and Rs 105 billion of higher denomination (Rs 500 and above) respectively.

In addition to this, Rs 123 billion higher denomination re-issuable notes have also been issued to the banks to enable them to meet their cash withdrawal needs.

Thus, a total of Rs 253 billion of banknotes have been issued to the banks for meeting their cash withdrawal requirements.

Last year in 2015, SBP issued 249 billion fresh currency notes. Out of which around Rs 31 billion comprised of lower denomination notes up to Rs.100, while, banknotes worth approx Rs. 218 billion of higher denomination were issued for meeting heavy payments and ATM needs of commercial banks.

SMS Service (8877)

In 2015, SBP in coordination with Pakistan Banks Association (PBA) introduced a new intervention of using Short Code service (on experimental basis) for distribution of fresh notes.

Back then some 200,000 individuals were offered fresh cash in just 7 days from 150 e-branches in 28 cities.

This resulted in issuance of more than 93 million pieces of lower denomination banknotes valuing approximately Rs. 3 billion to the general public through this medium.

Comparing numbers, the amount of fresh currency notes issued to commercial banks and disbursed amount to public has increased to a great extent, which is the evident from the fact that number of people who requested for fresh cash increased 7 times with-in an year.

Not to mention, the central bank failed to stop the trade of fresh currency notes in the open markets, which is being witnessed in different cities.