State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has eased off the requirements of biometric verification of the customers using branchless banking services to minimize the physical interactions at the agents’ locations to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread.
Through account levels 0 and 1, transactions of up to Rs. 25,000 can be made without any requirement of biometric verification until September 2020. However, two-factor authentication is mandatory for cash-out transactions.
The requirement of biometric verification was made mandatory in March this year to enhance the monitoring of the service against money laundering and terror financing risk.
Further, the daily transaction limit of Branchless Banking Level “0” account is not applicable on payments to trusted merchants (such as schools, hospitals, utility companies, merchants etc.) until September 30, 2020.
The service providers may introduce Biometric Verification through their mobile application for onboarding new customers under Branchless Banking Level “1” account after complying with NADRA Security Standards. The two-factor Authentication shall be mandatory on all fund transfers and merchant payments through Branchless Banking accounts.
The branchless banking service providers shall not charge their customers on fund transfer (Inter and Intra Bank Fund Transfer) from their Branchless Banking Wallet.
In order to ensure safety and hygiene measures during the provision of Branchless Banking services, service providers through their agents should take measures to educate their agents.
- Ensure that their agents wear masks during the provision of Branchless Banking services and have Sanitizers at all Biometric Touchpoints.
- Educate beneficiaries to wash hands with soap and water or apply sanitizer during the provision of Branchless Banking Services.
Service providers may onboard Branchless Banking agents through digital channels including portals or Apps subject to the following terms and conditions:
Agents shall be on-boarded based on full-fledged KYC and all back-end verifications including verisys. However, AFIs shall maintain a database of these accounts and shall conduct Biometric Verification and Business Location visit of these Agents through their authorized representatives till September 30, 2020.
In case of non-compliance, the operations in these agents’ accounts shall be terminated.
After September 30, 2020, Biometric Verification and Business Location visit of Agents shall be mandatory prior to the opening of these accounts.
The transaction limit of these Branchless Banking agents shall be Rs. 500,000 per month prior to biometric verification and Business location visit, SBP stated.