The adaptation of internet and mobile banking has witnessed a remarkable growth as the number of users and their use of the banking services through advanced and convenient channels are on the rise.
According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), a total of 2.3 million Internet Banking users were registered by the end of June 2017 with 25 banks offering a variety of financial services through Internet Banking (IB) like Intrabank & Interbank Fund transfer, scheduled fund transfers, Utility Bills Payments, Mobile Air-time top up, Intra-bank credit card payments, School fee payments etc.
In the last outgoing financial year 2016-17, Internet Banking processed 25.2 million transactions worth Rs. 968.7 billion during FY17 showing YoY growth of 32.5 % and 10% in volume and value of transactions, respectively.
Utility Bills Payments contributed 9.0 million (35.9%) in volume and Rs. 18.6 billion (1.9%) in value of transactions while the remaining shares consist of other miscellaneous payments including school/university fee submissions, mutual fund payments, credit card payments, etc.
The share of Intra Bank Fund transfer transactions is 6.6 million (26.1%) and Rs. 258.2 billion (26.7%) in volume and value of transactions, respectively, whereas the share of Inter Bank Funds transfers transactions in volume and value of transactions is 7.5 million (29.7%) and Rs. 310.1 billion (32%) respectively.
Internet Banking also facilitated 88.2 million non-financial transactions which include pay order, cheques books, bank account statements and Debit Cards etc.
Mobile Phone or App based Banking is being offered by 18 Banks including Microfinance Banks to 2.5 million registered users, as of June 2017.
Mobile Phone Banking processed 7.4 million transactions worth Rs. 141.4 Billion during FY17 showing YoY growth of 12.1 % and 25.7% in volume and value of transactions respectively.
Intra bank and Interbank fund transfer were the main contributors in total Mobile Phone Banking transactions. Intra bank fund transfers contributed 2.1 million (28.3%) transactions by volume and Rs. 60.0 billion (42.4%) by value.
Utility Bills Payments got a share of 3.1 million (41.3%) by volume and Rs. 6.0 billion (4.3%) by value within overall Mobile Banking volume and value transactions, respectively.
Despite the double digit growth in the values and volumes of transactions by the users through different banks, the share of the internet banking in overall transactions stands at a mere 4 percent whilst the share of mobile banking is less than one percent.
Pakistan Compared to the Rest of the World
Pakistan is ranked at 16th across the world lagging behind countries of lesser and greater economies including Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa and India, according to a report by Center of Technology Innovations at Brooking.
According to the report, Pakistan’s progress in adoption of mobile and internet banking is slowing down the growth of digital and financial inclusion especially in the banking system.
The banking regulators have devised various plans for achieving maximum financial inclusion but the role of banks, technological service providers and the masses are limited.
One other aspect which goes against the utility of online banking services is that online banking is considerably expensive in Pakistan even though it helps banks reduce operational costs.
The migration of people from features phones to Smartphones could increase the current level of utility of banking and digital services in the country. Besides, the mass awareness and incentivized campaigns by banks could improve the level of adoption of financial and banking services in the country.