SBP launches M-Wallet scheme to promote home remittances

‘Remittance can now be received directly in M-wallets and there is no requirement to visit a bank branch, fill forms or stand in long queues’

ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has launched a Mobile Wallet scheme with an easier registration process to accelerate the flow of home remittances through banking channels and facilitate expatriates with a reliable, swift and cost-effective conduit to transfer money to Pakistan.

“Home remittance can now be received directly in M-wallets and there is no requirement to visit a bank branch, fill forms or stand in a queue to receive the remittances,” official sources in SBP said.

Users of these M-wallets would be able to receive home remittances in their accounts from where they can easily use the money to withdraw or transfer, make purchases or pay bills, the sources said, adding that every US dollar equivalent of money received in these accounts will also be provided with an airtime of two rupees equivalent in their mobile phones.

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These M-wallets can only be fed with home remittances and no local deposit would be allowed, they informed.

“One account can keep a maximum balance of Rs1.5 million and there is also a restriction on receiving home remittance on a daily basis, as the account holder would be able to withdraw cash up to Rs50,000 per day and up to a maximum of Rs500,000 in a month,” they said.

According to sources, accounts can instantly be opened and activated at a bank branch or a branchless banking agent location with minimum documentation through biometric verification.

Already opened M-wallets (Branchless Banking Level 1 accounts) may also be designated as BB- HRA through an easy registration process.

On receiving home remittances in BB-HRAs, free airtime will be extended in the SIMs registered against these accounts. For example, on receiving $100, the receiver will get free airtime of Rs200 on the registered SIM.

Additionally, the remittances received in M-wallets can be withdrawn from branchless banking agent network throughout the country and the cash can be withdrawn from an auto teller machine (ATM) by using ATM cards issued against M-wallets.

Moreover, funds from M-wallets can be transferred to any other branchless or conventional banking account for easy payments to friends, family or anyone and can also be used for payment of electric, gas, telephone and mobile phone bills or top-ups.

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