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Resident Pakistanis Can Now Open Bank Accounts Remotely

Following the success of the Roshan Digital Account framework, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has now devised a ‘Customers’ Digital Onboarding Framework’ to facilitate conventional and microfinance banks to conveniently and remotely open bank accounts of resident Pakistanis by using digital channels, including websites, portals, mobile applications, and digital kiosks, etc.

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Under this framework, the account opening process will become swifter and more simplified, while also ensuring compliance with the applicable regulatory requirements and international standards.

The framework provides a convenient way for all segments of society for opening bank accounts. It specifically enables freelancers, self-employed or unemployed women, and recipients of remittances from abroad to open bank accounts digitally with minimum documentation requirements.

This initiative will help SBP achieve its financial inclusion objectives by drawing in excluded segments of the society into the formal banking sector.

 

The framework was finalized after carrying out extensive consultations with stakeholders, including industry experts, in order to proactively address the challenges that the banks face.

Typically, accounts can be opened as either savings or current accounts. The framework identifies four categories on the basis of functional limits, such as deposits or withdrawal limits, fund transfer limits,  and the documents required for the opening of an account.

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Categories of Various Accounts

The categories of accounts include:

1.       Asaan Digital Account
2.       Asaan Digital Remittance Account
3.       Freelancer Digital Account
4.       Digital Account

The first category is the easiest to open as it requires basic information and the least number of documents, albeit with some limits on functionality.

The last category, i.e., Digital Account, is without any functional restriction but needs extensive information. A customer can start with a basic account and can upgrade over time, when needed.

Under this framework, SBP has instructed the banks to ensure that the decision to open or decline these accounts does not take more than two working days from the day of completion of all the requirements while ensuring the availability of customer support services 24/7 for customers facilitation.

Moreover, the banks will also be required to provide a tracking number to the applicant so they can follow up on status updates.

Requirements For Opening Up An Account

1. Full Name as per Computerized/ Smart National Identity Card
2. Father/ Spouse Name as per Computerized/ Smart National Identity Card
3. Gender Details
4. Computerized/ Smart National Identity Card Number
5. Date of Issuance of Computerized/ Smart National Identity Card
6. Date of Birth
7. Place of Birth
8. Mother’s Maiden Name
9. Contact Numbers: Mobile number (mandatory), Landline Number(optional)
10. Personal eMail Address (optional)
11. Current/ Mailing Address
12. Purpose of Account
13. Source of Income/Occupation as per Self-Declaration
14. Name(s) and Relationship(s) with Prospective Remitter(s)

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Future Outlook

With the rapid growth in adoption of electronic banking channels, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand from bank and customers for digital financial transactions have increased manifold.

The SBP has advised the banking industry to implement this framework by December 31, 2021.

The central bank is confident that this initiative will help promote the digitization of banking services in the country, as well as help achieve financial inclusion objectives. The framework would also provide the industry a tool, and impetus to the SBP’s initiative of Banking on Equality, by bringing women into the financial system.

It is expected that the move will result in increased convenience for the customers to fulfill their financial needs through swift and secure digital financial infrastructure in Pakistan.

The SBP has provided an enabling regulatory environment for its regulated entities to facilitate various customer segments. SBP’s recent initiatives include the introduction of the National Payment System Strategy (NPSS), instant payment system (RAAST), Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), and the introduction of Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) for Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs).

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