Saturday October 01, 2022

E-banking transactions up 16pc to Rs27.2tr in July-Sept

By Our Correspondent
March 01, 2022

KARACHI: E-banking transactions increased 16 percent to Rs27.2 trillion in the first quarter of this fiscal year, as convenient digital payments did not lose their charm despite easing pandemic-led restrictions, the central bank said on Monday.

These transactions stood at Rs23.3 trillion in the previous quarter that ended on June 30, 2021. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released its first quarterly report of payment systems for FY2022, covering the period July-September.

The data presented in this review substantiates the finding that even as the pandemic slowed during the quarter under review, digitalisation continued the momentum gained in the preceding quarters, according to the report.

“The journey of migrating from a cash-intensive economy towards a digital economy continued as the volume of e-banking transactions rose 12 percent to 361.6 million,” it said. E-banking is defined as transactions conducted via electronic channels including real-time online branches, ATMs, mobile banking, internet banking, call center banking, point of sale and e-commerce.

“Two major areas where high adoption in digital payments was witnessed are mobile and internet banking,” the SBP said in a statement issued the same day. The number of mobile banking users grew 4 percent on a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) basis, reaching a total of 11.3 million. The number of transactions conducted via mobile banking channels was 79.1 million with a value of around Rs2.2 trillion, showing a QoQ growth of 29 percent by volume and 36 percent by value.

Internet banking also contributed to the upswing in usage of e-banking services by registering 31 percent growth in users, who conducted 30 million transactions worth Rs1.9 trillion. This amounts to 6 percent increase in terms of volume and 10 percent in value of these transactions.

The retail sector continued to show adoption of digital payments. Overall e-commerce transactions recorded an impressive QoQ growth of 87 percent by volume and 21 percent by value, though the number of e-commerce merchants remained almost the same as of the last quarter.

During the quarter, 12.7 million e-commerce related transactions, amounting to Rs22.3 billion, were conducted using digital payment channels. Similarly, the number of merchant point of sale (POS) machines also increased 10 percent reaching 79,134 machines in the country.

These machines processed 28.1 million card-based transactions at merchant locations worth almost Rs134.9 billion, an increase of 16.1 percent by volume and 10.6 percent percent by value.

As of end-September 2021, there were 46.2 million total cards in circulation, which mainly comprised debit cards (64 percent), social welfare cards (22 percent), ATM only cards (10 percent), credit cards (4 percent), and prepaid cards (0.3 percent).

Despite an increase in digital payments, cash handling and use of bank cheques also trended up. The increase in the use of the paper-based means of performing transactions is backed by the easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The paper-based transactions rose 5 percent in volume to 98 million in July-September FY2022 from 93.7 million in April-June FY2021. These transactions were recorded at Rs41.6 trillion in July-September FY2022, compared with Rs40.4 trillion in April-June FY2021.

In the large-value (wholesale) payments segment, transactions processed, during this quarter, through SBP’s real-time interbank settlement mechanism (PRISM) registered a total of 1.1 million transactions amounting to Rs159.1 trillion, which is seven percent higher than the preceding quarter.