For the first time in Pakistan, the total number of Branchless Banking (BB) transactions crossed 1 billion mark in a single quarter in 2QFY24 (Oct-Dec23). This achievement signals a shift towards digital finance and highlights the changing dynamics of financial management in Pakistan.

The total branchless banking transactions clocked in at 1.088 billion in 2QFY24 compared to 974 million in 1QFY24, up by ~12%. Fund transfers represent an impressive 43% of the total transactions followed by bill payments and mobile top-ups, which account for 22% of the transactions. With over 64.12 million active account holders and a total of 114 million registered accounts, more people are gaining access to digital financial tools.

The average daily transactions has also gone up this quarter by 11.7% with 12 million average daily transactions compared to 10 million last quarter.

Source: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)

Digital Infrastructure Needs a Catalyst to Maintain Its Momentum

The surge in utilization of mobile wallets signifies the growing preference for convenient and accessible financial services and reliance on digital finance solutions.

To build on the momentum, we need the following to substantially improve country’s digital infrastructure and ecosystem for tech and knowledge economy, so it supports digital solutions, attracts institutional investments, resulting in industry-wide exponantial efficiency and productivity impacts.

  • Higher penetration of smartphones (currently below 60%), laptops, and other digital gadgets
  • Cheaper, higher-quality faster internet with uninterrupted flow (spectrum policy shift)
  • Digital infrastructure, i.e., fiber networks, macro cell towers, data centers, and small cell networks, etc.
  • Financial rails and more payment-receipt/transfer mediums (i.e. QRs and scans) available at lowerst consumer cost possible to compete and discourage cash economy.
  • Default opening of bank accounts for the entire adult population with incentives to use accounts for even smallest of financial dealings to discourage cash and encourage documentation of the economy.