The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed banks and financial institutions to inform their customers in advance about the downtime of the digital banking channels, caused by unknown disruptions or scheduled maintenance.
In recent years, the reliance of customers on the use of digital channels for carrying out day-to-day transactions has increased manifold. However, it has been observed that in cases of service outages, customers are not informed on time, and as a result, they face inconveniences, according to the circular issued by the central bank.
To ensure that customers are informed about service disruptions due to any scheduled or unforeseen activity, the following instructions are being issued:
- Customers shall be informed at least two days in advance through various communication channels including but not limited to SMS alerts, social media platforms, and in-app notifications.
- SBP shall be notified at least one week in advance.
- In any situation where downtime exceeds by more than two hours of its planned duration, then it should be immediately conveyed to the customers and reported to SBP.
In case of unanticipated service disruption for more than thirty minutes, due to any reason:
- Customers must be immediately informed about any disruption of services through the aforementioned communication channels, together with an estimated time of restoration of services.
- Customers and SBP shall also be informed once services have resumed as usual.
- All Regulated Entities (RE) must establish mechanisms to continuously monitor social media platforms to proactively identify and address customer complaints or issues relating to the availability of digital channels.
SBP, as part of its oversight responsibility, will also be regularly monitoring the availability of digital channels.
Cumulative downtimes on a monthly basis shall be reported to SBP. In case the unanticipated downtime exceeds more than three hours per quarter, SBP shall be informed about the steps taken by the respective RE to avoid disruption in the future.