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- Saturday, February 19, 2011 - From Print Edition


KARACHI: Over 74 percent branches across Pakistan are now offering online banking services in a bid to keep pace with fast growing technology, the central bank said on Friday.


“Now 7,036 bank branches are offering real-time online banking out of total 9,483 branches in Pakistan,” the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in its second quarterly report. During July-Dec 2010, 309 bank branches were upgraded to real-time online branches.


Transactions by real-time online branches grew by 10.59 percent while their value increased by 17.97 percent.


According to the report, the number of automated teller machines (ATMs) in the country was 4,734 by the end of December 2010, an indication of the growing use of the plastic money. Around 172 ATMs were added during second half of 2010.


The number of plastic cards ó ATM, debit and credit cards ó increased by 19.21 percent over the previous quarter. “By quarter-end, around 13.19 million plastic cards were in circulation,” the report said.


The volume and value of overall e-banking transactions in the country during the quarter reached 56.42 million and Rs5.5 trillion, respectively, showing an increase of 7.3 percent in volume and 17.47 percent in value.


ATMs, being the largest channel for e-banking transactions, showed 5.6 percent increase in number of transactions and 9.5 percent in value, which resulted in average value of Rs8,804 per ATM transaction.


The report said this trend was also witnessed in the large value payments settled through Pakistan Real-time Interbank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM), which increased by 12.73 percent in volume and 13.49 percent in value.


The major portion of PRISM transactions in terms of value was settlements against securities, which accounted for 46 percent of the total transactions followed by Interbank Funds Transfers (38 percent) and settlement of retail cheques multilateral clearing (16 percent).


The volume and value of paper-based retail payments during the quarter were 88.46 million and Rs39.07 trillion, respectively increase of 6.63 percent in volume and 9.75 percent in value.