KARACHI ( TAHIR REPORT )
Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Microfinance Bank – Easypaisa have launched the premier Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) service to enable their customers to transfer funds between a number of banks via the 1-link switch, said a press statement on Friday. Easypaisa brings this revolutionary, first of its kind innovative service, to both its mobile account holders and over-the-counter (OTC) customers.
Easypaisa mobile account holders can now move funds from any bank account into their Easypaisa mobile account and vice versa conveniently and securely, thus overcoming one of the hurdles of getting funds into the branchless banking systems, said the statement. Once the funds are in the Easypaisa mobile account, customers can proceed to use the most convenient and secured bill payment and money transfer or airtime recharge service in the country through the Easypaisa mobile account on their mobile phone.
For the OTC service, any customer can walk into any of the Easypaisa shops and deposit cash directly into any bank account.
With 40,000 Easypaisa shops in more than 750 cities and nearly six million unique customers using Easypaisa services each month, banked customers can deposit cash into their bank accounts without having to go into their bank branches. Customers will only need to approach an Easypaisa shop, provide their computerised national identity cars and their bank account number to use this service.
This cash deposit facility will be available at Easypaisa shops, while they are open, often late into the night and even on weekends, said the statement.
“It is great step in the branchless banking industry, a revolutionary development, which will act as a catalyst for the robust growth of the industry in Pakistan,” said Nadeem Hussain, president and chief executive officer of Tameer Micro Finance Bank.
“Easypaisa now connects the unbanked directly to the banking infrastructure by enabling them to send and receive money on their mobile accounts and through OTC services. Almost 80 percent of the population in this country is still unbanked and Easypaisa is working day and night to achieve financial inclusion of the unbanked people of Pakistan. In line with this ambition, Easypaisa’s IBFT service provides a platform to the unbanked class to connect with the traditional banking infrastructure, which is likely to boost the mobile banking culture in the country.”
Expressing his view regarding this new service, Yahya Khan, chief financial services officer at Telenor Pakistan, said, “We are extremely proud of being the first branchless banking service in Pakistan to move towards interoperability and connect to the 1-Link switch for fund transfers.”
He said: “All the current closed-loop mobile money services in the country have to strive and move towards open-loop systems where customers can move funds between bank and branchless banking accounts and vice versa.”
“The opening up of Easypaisa agents for cash deposit into other banks is similarly a unique service we’re introducing to meet an un-served need out there. We believe that banks and branchless banking services complement each other and can work in harmony to serve everybody in Pakistan.”