The use of mobile banking witnessed tremendous growth in Pakistan as the quarterly transaction value crossed the mark of Rs. 1 trillion for the first time in Pakistan.
This is being attributed to zero bank charges and levies on most common services.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the volume of mobile banking transactions reached 44 million (up 147 percent), valuing Rs. 1.12 trillion (up 192 percent) during the second quarter of 2020-21 compared to 17.8 million transactions, valuing Rs. 382.5 billion in the same quarter last year.
The number of registered mobile phone banking users reached 9.4 million, accounting for an increase of 5 percent.
Similarly, 22 million internet banking transactions valuing Rs. 1.3 trillion were recorded during this period compared to Rs. 1.1 trillion in the previous quarter.
The banking regulator had waived various charges on mobile and internet banking last year to reduce the visit of the customers to bank branches as a prevention measure from COVID-19. Since then, the use of mobile and internet banking has been overwhelming.
The waiving of charges seemed temporary, but the SBP removed all charges on mobile and internet banking permanently, including bill payments, IBFT, taxes, etc., to encourage the use of digital payments, which ultimately supports financial inclusion.
Payment Cards and POS
The total number of payment cards issued in the country stood at 44 million, out of which 27.6 million are debit cards, and 1.7 million are credit cards.
Further, 7.6 million were social welfare cards issued by banks on behalf of BISP, EOBI, and other government organizations.
In response to SBP’s measures to incentivize the installation of Point of Sale machines to facilitate digital payments through debit or credit cards, the number of POS machines has shown a notable growth of 18 percent during Q2FY21, reaching 62,480 installations throughout the country.
On these POS machines, 23 million transactions amounting to Rs. 115 billion were processed during Q2FY21, which shows the positive impact of the market-conducive policies adapted by SBP targeted towards increasing the payment acceptance infrastructure in Pakistan.
Card-based transactions on e-commerce portals also increased substantially, with e-commerce merchants processing 5.6 million transactions through payment cards amounting to Rs. 15 billion compared to 3.9 million valuing Rs. 11.9 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
This marks a shift in the behavior of the Pakistani population complements the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to develop a more market-friendly landscape toward acceptance of payments by e-commerce merchants.
Overall, during Q2FY21, 296.7 million e-Banking transactions, valuing Rs. 21.4 trillion were carried out, registering a growth of 24 percent by volume and 22 percent by value over the same quarter last year.
The expansion in digital payment infrastructure, and the emergence of new payment aggregators, played a role in this growth.
In line with its declared objectives to digitize payment and financial services, SBP will continue promoting digitization in the country and expects the industry to support these efforts, which will increase convenience and financial inclusion for all Pakistanis.