In an effort to promote use of bank accounts and remittance transactions through the banking system, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed banks to open ‘Asaan Remittance Accounts’ of prospective beneficiaries of home remittances on the pattern of an Asaan Account.
This will facilitate bank accounts from low risk customers or (home remittance recipients), to receive home remittances through proper accounts instead of resorting to traditional cash over the counter transactions.
Due to this directive, freelancers, start-ups (software/ apps developers) and service providers will also benefit, as they have clients or projects in foreign countries. This will also reduce the cost of funds transfer at the end of senders/receivers via different services.
In this regard, due diligence and other controls specified for Asaan Account shall also be applicable for the Asaan Remittance Account.
Following additional features shall apply while opening and maintaining these accounts:
a) Account Opening Form: In addition to the requirements specified under Asaan Account Guidelines, account opening form should have IBAN of the Asaan Remittance Account and names of prospective remitter(s) stating the relationship with the account holder as well.
b) Limited mandate: This account shall be fed through Home Remittances from abroad only and no local credit shall be allowed in the account. No commercial remittances shall be deposited in the account.
c) Transaction Limits/Turnover: There will be
- A maximum credit balance limit of Rs. 2,000,000.
- A cash withdrawal limit of Rs. 50,000 per day.
- A fund transfer limit from Asaan Remittance Account to any other account of Rs. 50,000 per day.
Banks/MFBs should launch awareness campaigns to sensitize the general public about the benefits of this product i.e. security, issuance of Proceeds Realization Certificate (PRC), timely credit and complaint resolution.
Banks/MFBs may also coordinate with overseas employment promoters to reach potential remittance niche for opening of these accounts for self and family members.
In June 2015, SBP allowed banks to open “Asaan Account” for low risk customers without the condition of showing an income proof. This account offers limited number of services and transactions range to a large number of customers.
It can be opened with Rs. 100 along with a copy of their CNIC and basic details of account holders. The account form is also available online.
This account can benefit hundreds thousands of freelancers, technopreneurs, starter-ups, tutors, housewives and teenagers as they can open an account in any bank without disclosing their source of income.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been actively pursuing the goal of financial inclusion in the country by expanding the outreach of banking services to all segments of society especially to the unbanked or under banked population.
The strategy helps increase documentation of economy, create saving habits among the masses for returns/profits on their savings and generate opportunities to access credit and insurance facilities through the formal financial sector.