There Are Over 40 Million ATM, Debit and Credit Cards in Use in Pakistan

The number of users of payment cards issued by banks have been on the rise in Pakistan. The total number of payments cards such as debit, credit, prepaid, welfare cards have crossed the mark of 40 million by the end of March 2018.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the total number of payment cards issued in Pakistan reached 40.1 million on 31st March 2018 from 39.3 million from the previous quarter, a 1.8% increase.


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Let us take a look at the breakdown of the most common cards being used by Pakistanis for their banking needs.

Debit Cards

As far as the total number of payment cards are concerned, SBP says that the share of debit cards stands at 52.4%, with 21 million cards issued by different commercial banks to their customers. The growth in the use of Debit Cards was observed mainly because of its ease of use in spending money.

On the other hand, incentives by banks such as discounts on shopping and restaurants also resulted in an increase in the use of Debit Cards throughout the country.

ATM Cards

After debit cards, ATM cards are the most popular form of payment cards. The number of ATM cards stands at 21.3 million, with a user base of 8.5 million.

Credit Cards

The number of credit cards currently stands at 3.6 million. Only 1.4 million of bank customers use them. The number of credit card users are also increasing gradually, because of lower interest rates, as well as the increasing demand of customers who want credit for their urgent needs.

PrePaid Cards

A number of banks recently introduced prepaid cards for their customers. They have received an impressive response given their convenience and ease of use. Prepaid cards’ share currently stands at 0.6%, with 0.2 million users throughout the country.

Social Welfare Cards

Social Welfare Cards boast the second biggest share when it comes to the number of users. There are currently 22.2 million social welfare cards in use today, with an 8.9 million user base. These cards also include BISP beneficiaries.

During Jan to March 2018, as many as 142.7 million transactions, valued at Rs.1.6 trillion, were processed by these cards. The lion’s share of these transactions were done via Debit Cards, comprising about 80% in volume and 85% of the value of transactions. This was followed by the share of proprietary ATM cards, which contributed 11.3% in volume and 10.7% in value of transactions. The rest of the transactions were carried by prepaid and social welfare cards.