KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan has asked commercial banks to deploy more ATM machines nationwide, as currently available network of 9,000 machines lacks the strength to facilitate the growing population in future, said a Deputy Governor of the central bank, Riaz Riazuddin on Thursday.

“Density of ATMs is low in Pakistan and we need to increase it in future,” said Riazuddin.

He was speaking at the 13th ebanking conference and exhibition organised by Total Communications and 1Link at a hotel here, says a statement by the organisers on Thursday.

According to World Bank, Naveed Ali Baig of Innovative said, there are available mere 6.49 ATM machines for each 1,000 people in Pakistan as compared to 290 machines in South Korea for each 1,000 people, 173 machines in US, 42.4 machines in Indonesia, and 13.27 ATM machines are available for each 1,000 people in India.

Baig said banks have planned to deploy another 500-600 ATM machines in the ongoing year 2015.

Riazuddin said “State bank in collaboration with stakeholders has been striving to strengthen the payment delivery channels through automation and digitalisation.”

The alternate payment delivery channels like e-banking and branchless banking have emerged as supporting pillars of SBP’s vision for financial inclusions. “Creating digitally inclusive financial system will ensure reaching un-served and undeserved population…,” said the deputy governor.

He said the recently issued regulations related to payment system operators and payment service providers has paved the way for new entrances pertaining to electronic payment gateway, payment scheme, clearing house, ATM switch, point of sales gateway, e-commece gateway and so on.

He said 1Link would also launch “Direct Debit” app in the next three months. This would enable banks to directly debit payments from bank accounts for accountholders’ utility bills, their monthly installments for cars and houses, school and university fees, and etc. The services would be activated on the request of accountholders.

Head Payment Services at Habib Bank Limited, Faiq Sadiq, said his bank has deployed 5,000 POS terminals nationwide.

He said his bank has come at number one position in deploying ATM machines in the country from number four three-four years ago.

He said innovation, technological advancement is the way forward in the financial sector. He said NADRA database and 1Link have made possible to have biometric ATMs in the country.

President, PMEA Region, Wincor Nixdorf-Portugal, Paulo Gomes, stressed upon the need to win trust of customers through providing them best services in this technologically advancing world.

CEO, Access Group, Imran Qureshi, said collaboration between banks and technology firms would help the financial sector reach un-served and undeserved population.

Chairman, FPCCI Standing Committee for Banking, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, said banks should workout special products for businessmen, traders and industrial sectors.

The one-day conference also includes two panel discussions; (1) OMNI Channel Strategies- Challenges & Responses, and (2) Braving Security Challenges on ATMs. Besides, various renowned speakers from world across also addressed the august gathering.

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