ISLAMABAD: The volume and value of Branchless Banking (BB) transactions have registered a sizeable increase as 99.5 million transactions were recorded during April-June 2015,

which amounted to a total value of Rs. 505.9 billion.

The volume and value of branchless transactions during the period showed 37 percent and 43 percent growth respectively, as compared to previous quarter during which 72.52 million transactions valuing 354.14 billion were recorded.

According to latest market stats, this growth trend demonstrates the fact that people have started considering branchless banking as a key tool for satisfying their basic financial needs.

The average number of transactions per day scaled to 1.1 million, whereas the average size of transaction was Rs. 5,083, up from Rs. 4,883 during the previous quarter.

The total BB deposits increased to Rs. 8,553 million from Rs. 6,890 million in the previous quarter. However the average deposit in BB accounts fell from Rs. 914 in the previous quarter to Rs. 786 in quarter under review.

During the period, the customer oriented transactions in overall BB transactions remained 94percent in volume and 61percent in value; the rest being agent transactions for liquidity purposes.

M-wallet transactions showed encouraging signals by gaining a share of 29.9percent (in volume) and 29.4percent (in value) in customer oriented transactions, as compared to 11.6percent and 17.1percent in the previous quarter respectively.

The number of agents rose to 251,865 till end of June 2015, up from 229,645 in March 2015, showing 9.7percent growth over previous quarter. However, the active agents declined to 77percent of total agents as compared to 80percent in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan has said BB players should take steps to reinvigorate the inactive agents through agent development techniques such as guidance, trainings and due facilitation.

Moreover, the branchless banking accounts exhibited a sharp rise as well – thanks to biometric verification of cellular SIMs – increasing from 7.5 million accounts in previous quarter to 10.8 million, in the quarter under review.

These 10.8 million BB accounts are composed of level-0, 1, 2 and 3 accounts which represent 9.4 million, 1.1 million, 38,504 and 254,042 accounts respectively.

During the quarter mobile phone companies allowed its biometrically verified customers to open level-0 accounts. This resulted into massive opening of level-0 accounts which now constitute 87percent of the total BB accounts. A total of 1.3 million customer accounts during the quarter were opened.

The players – Easypaisa, Omni and Waseela have the highest number of digital account holders, with 7.6, 1.8 and 1.2 million accounts respectively. These three players contribute to 98percent of the total m-wallets, whereas the other five players have a 2percent market share.

Apr-Jun 2015 quarter reversed the declining course of activity in BB accounts after four continuous quarters. The active-to-total account ratio climbed to 34percent from 20percent in previous quarter which may be attributed to release of two BISP tranches, rise in fund transfers between m-wallets and mobile top-ups through m-wallets.

The value of m-wallet transactions experienced a hefty growth of 165 percent, climbing to Rs. 90.7 billion from previous quarter’s Rs. 34.2 billion.

The number of m-wallet transactions also increased manifolds, ending up at 28.1 million from the previous quarter’s 7.9 million.

Cash deposit and withdrawals topped the chart in number of transactions, doubling to 10 million from previous quarter’s five million, followed by G2P and Funds transfers through m-wallets.

Merchant payments still remain an ignored segment with a meager contribution of 0.11percent, both in numbers and value.

State Bank said that BB players need to focus on merchant payments, which can add more value in m-wallet usage.

The Interbank Fund Transfer Transactions (IBFT) which are fund transfers between core banking accounts and m-wallets showed mixed performance.

The number of transactions declined from 281,841 to 254,471. However an increase was observed in total transactional value from Rs. 6.8 billion to Rs. 7.5 billion.

 

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