Digital payments remain on upward trajectory in FY21: SBP

Mobile banking gathering pace, registers 29pc increase in the number of users

ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday released its Annual Payment Systems Review (PSR) for the fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21), which shows strong growth in digital financial transactions in the country.

According to the PSR, transactions processed through SBP’s large-value payments segment, known as Real-time Inter-Bank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM), recorded Year-on-Year (YoY) growth of 60.0 per cent by number of transactions and 12.8pc by value.

Similarly, overall e-banking transactions registered YoY growth of 31.1pc which highlights substantial increase in adaption of digital means for payments. This growth was spurred by major uptake in mobile banking, marking a 29pc increase in the number of users, 133.6pc and 178.7pc increase in volume and value, respectively; 32pc increase in the number of users and internet banking, as well as 65.1pc and 91.7pc increase in volume and value, respectively.

This growth was achieved on the back of 27 banks offering app-based banking along with other entities offering innovative payment solutions for accepting digital transactions.

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During FY21, digital payments adoption for retail transactions continued to show an upward trend as the number of card accepting POS machines saw a growth of 47pc. Transactions processed through POS machines reached as high as 88.8 million amounting to Rs453.1 billion, showing YoY growth of 26.3pc by volume and 24.4pc by value of transactions.

The same trend was reflected in e-commerce transactions as well. The number of e-commerce merchants reached 3,003 which shows double-digit growth of 76pc. Consumers carried out 21.9 million online transactions worth Rs60.6 billion with locally registered e-commerce merchants during FY21, which amounts to a YoY growth of 114.8pc and 74.1pc by volume and value of transactions, respectively.

Similarly, on the card issuance side, as of end-June 2021, there were 45.9 million total cards in circulation that mainly comprised of 65pc debit cards, 18.4pc social welfare cards, 12.6pc ATM cards, 3.7pc credit cards, and 0.3pc prepaid cards.

Collectively, these cards processed 708.7 million transactions amounting to Rs8.4 trillion during FY21. The number of debit cards at the end of FY21 has been 29.8 million, observing a YoY growth of 11.8pc and annualised growth of 13.8pc during the last four years.

Transactions processed through ATMs also grew to 598.7 million with the total value of Rs8.1 trillion. This amounts to a growth of 16.9pc by volume and 25.6pc by value on YoY basis.

The country’s core payment systems infrastructure remained operationally resilient. All channels of payment systems showed significant growth.

In a statement, SBP said that it expects that going forward, the momentum of growth across all key areas of the digital payments ecosystem will continue to strengthen.

Earlier on Thursday, SBP Dep­uty Governor Sima Kamil while addressing the 19th Annual Conference on Fut­ure Banking 2021 Summit, organised by Total Commu­nications, had said that SBP has finalised a comprehensive digital banking plan that may be approved within a month for introduction.

“We have gone through very intensive consultative phase for digital banking. That has been concluded. We would hopefully have appro­val and announce that within a month or so,” she said.

“I am happy to say there are players who have shown great deal of interest in digital banking and also fintechs,” she added.

The digital banking would offer a full range of banking services online compared to a few digital services available at present.




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