LAHOR: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) today announced that it will launch the Asaan mobile account (AMA) Monday as part of its national financial inclusion strategy (NFIS) to bank the largely unbanked population of the country.
In a statement, the central bank said the initiative (AMA) was developed under the NFIS with the aim of further facilitating remote account opening under branchless banking. The AMA program will allow users of phones with and without functionality to open a bank account through USSD channels, without the need for an Internet connection.
#SBP launch a new initiative, #AsaanMobileAccount December 13, 21 allowing the opening and operation of an account with a remote banking service provider using a mobile phone from anywhere in Pakistan without the need for internet and without go to a bank branch. Stay tuned.
– SBP (@StateBank_Pak) 12 December 2021
The solution was developed through the collaboration of SBP, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), 13 remote banking service providers ( BB), all mobile operators (CMOs) and Virtual Remittance Gateway (VRG), a financial technology company.
For AMA, branchless banking providers and mobile operators are working together under the Third Party Service Provider Regulation (TPSP) to provide an interoperable platform, allowing any Pakistani to open an account with ‘a bank. VRG, which is the only dual-licensed company of PTA and SBP, has created its own licensed USSD platform to provide access to financial services to millions of unbanked Pakistanis, enabling them to access to banking services from any type of phone, without 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi or Internet.
During its extended pilot phase, VRG has enabled over 1 million people to open their AMA accounts and completed over 11 million bank transactions worth over Rs 6 billion through this channel. VRG now has approval for a commercial launch.
AMA’s launch means customers could open and manage their accounts from the comfort of their own homes, without having to visit branches, with any of the participating remote banking providers, the central said. .
“Since there would be no need for the Internet, WADA will play a crucial role in reaching low-income segments that do not have access to it,” the central bank said. “In addition, AMA will also be an ideal channel to integrate female customer segments,” he added.