Covid-19 bolsters mobile banking

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Another week, another report from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). It’s the Payments Systems Review for July-September. It reveals that the total payments transactions grew by 23 per cent year-on-year in volume and 8pc in value in the first quarter of 2020-21.


Mostly the report tells us what we have already been seeing for a long time: PRISM transactions still take up the lion’s share by value, thanks to their large ticket size; paper-based transactions coupled with ATM cash withdrawals lead by a margin in terms of volume; and e-banking transaction amounts are on a healthy — but not radically — upward trajectory (22pc year-on-year growth in the latest period).


But dig in a little deeper and you can see a few major trends underway.


The most meaningful is mobile banking’s share in the total e-banking value surged to 4.75pc in July-September from just 1.87pc in the corresponding period of last year. This marked a fast convergence with internet banking whose shares in the respective periods were 5.68pc and 3.68pc. This was accompanied by an addition of 2.61 million mobile and 875,284 internet banking users in July-September over the same quarter of 2019-20.