The government is planning to launch the Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) Scheme in January 2018 to allow anyone with a basic mobile phone to open a digital transaction account swiftly through a USSD code or string from anywhere at any time.
Sources revealed that the issue of AMA scheme was discussed in the fifth meeting of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) Steering Committee held in Karachi. The meeting was attended by the SC members, SBP officials and special invitees from NFIS Technical Committees on Pension and Insurance.
Promoting Digital Transaction Accounts
The committee was updated about progress made for promotion of Digital Transaction Accounts (DTAs). With regards to promotion of DTAs, Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) Scheme was adopted by NFIS Steering Committee to promote access and usage of financial services. The scheme was subsequently approved by the NFIS Council.
The initiative requires establishment of a unified USSD platform through a Third Party Service Provider (TPSP). The TPSP licensing is expected to be completed within one month and it will be operational within the next three months.
The Chairman of the meeting inquired about the timeline for launch of the AMA scheme. The secretariat responded that TPSP licensing is in progress and AMA will commence operations by the end of December 2017.
While adding on the progress made on PTA’s end, Dr Arif Sargana, Director EA-PTA, shared with the committee that licensing of TPSP is a joint venture of SBP and PTA.
He added that PTA is in the process of issuing a license to Virtual Remittance Gateway (VRG) and their business plan/proposal is currently being reviewed by SBP. Once it is cleared by SBP, PTA will issue the license to VRG. The committee, while deliberating the timeline, decided that AMA should be launched in January 2018.
About The Asaan Mobile Account Scheme
The NFIS Council had approved an Asaan (Easy) Mobile Account (AMA) scheme where the digital finance service providers will join an integrated platform, allowing any person with a basic mobile phone to open a digital transaction account swiftly through a USSD code or string from anywhere at any time.
The objective of the scheme is to improve accessibility of new customers for account opening, drive usage of digital financial services through increased number of account-to-account transactions across various networks and provide digital access to a range of quality financial services.
This will facilitate the poor and marginalized sections of the society towards adopting digital payments and also transform banks to shift their focus from ‘Over-the-Counter’ (OTC) services to branchless banking (BB) accounts. The scheme will be operationalized once Third Party Service Provider is licensed under the TPSP regulations by PTA.