Mobile phone, smart card banking accounts reach 1.45 million
Karachi (DailyTimes / Wednesday, October 17, 2012) – Mobile Phone and Smart Card banking accounts have surged to nearly 1.45 million in the country.
It indicates Pakistan’s financial sector is now going through a dynamic transition led by the latest technology solutions.
The Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Kazi Abdul Muktadir at the launching ceremony of a new product, “Easy Paisa Khushaal” of Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB) and Telenor said, ‘The existing active players-TMFB (Easypaisa) and UBL (Omni) have so far registered more than 1,447,381 mobile wallet accounts (mWallet accounts) of un-banked and under-banked population of the country.
He said TMFB and UBL Omni processed 30 million Branchless Banking (BB) accounts worth Rs 115 billion during April-June 2012.
Such type of innovations in product designing would not only attract small savings to generate internal funding for Microfinance Banks (MFBs) but also provide savers a feeling of safety and security of insurance embodied with the product. ‘Now the time is only of demand-driven innovative products, through which MFBs can easily handle the challenges like scarcity of funding and financial exclusion,’ he added.
With the entry of new players and scaling-up of the existing institutions, the present growth momentum of BB accounts will rise further. Our tele density also highlights the inherent potential for mobile banking in Pakistan,’ he said.
Achievements in the BB services have put Pakistan at the global centre stage of Financial Inclusion and innovation. He said the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), in its recent study has also recognised Pakistan as one of the fastest growing branchless banking market in the World.
He said the government and the SBP have been supporting the microfinance sector to reach out to the millions of un-served low-income people of the country.
This growth is facilitated by several factors, including an enabling policy framework, institutional reforms, technology initiatives, regulatory flexibility, tax incentives and technical support through different programs and projects, he added.
SBP has also issued a Strategic Framework for Sustainable Microfinance in Pakistan, which mainly focuses promoting use of alternative delivery channels to enhance financial services to people without access to finance, which is recognised as one of the fundamental constraints in achieving sustainable economic growth in many developing countries, he added.
He congratulated the TMFB and its key partner Telenor for designing another innovative product and said it would go a long way in promoting deposit mobilisation and motivating other microfinance sector players to move in this direction.