KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said here on Thursday that 296.7 million e-banking transactions valuing Rs 21.4 trillion were carried out, registering a growth of 24 per cent by volume and 22 per cent by value in the second quarter of 2020-21, over the same quarter last year.

The SBP released its Quarterly Payment System Review (QPSR) for the second quarter, which said that most uptake in e-banking transactions was seen in internet and mobile banking. The volume of mobile banking transactions reached 44 million, (up 147 percent) valuing Rs 1.12 trillion (up 192 percent) compared to 17.8 million transactions valuing 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 per cent. 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.

In response to SBP’s measures to incentivise the installation of Point-of-Sale (POS) machines to facilitate digital payments through debit or credit cards, the number of POS machines have shown a notable growth of 18 per cent during the second quarter 2020-21, 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 particularly targeted towards increasing the payment acceptance infrastructure in Pakistan, the report said.

The SBP further claimed in its report that 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 11.9 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. This marks a shift in the behavior of the Pakistani population and also complements Government of Pakistan’s efforts to develop a more market-friendly landscape toward acceptance of payments by e-commerce merchants, the report added.

The total number of payment cards issued in the country stood at 44 million, of which 27.6 million are debit cards and 1.7 million are credit cards. Furthermore, 7.6 million social welfare cards have been issued by banks on behalf of BISP, EOBI, and other government organisations, the report said.

In the last few years, Digital payment transactions in Pakistan have shown significant growth, reflecting the favourable impact of the SBP’s policies in shifting customer preferences.

Expansion in digital payment infrastructure, as well as the emergence of new payment aggregators, has played a role in this growth. In line with its declared objectives to digitise payment and financial services, the SBP intends to continue promoting digitisation in the country and expects the industry to support these efforts. This will increase convenience and financial inclusion for all Pakistanis, the report added.


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