55,000 Easypaisa shops across Pakistan are now Cash Deposit Machines
Today, there are over 40 commercial banks operating in Pakistan through 11,000 bank branches and almost 8,000 ATMs. However the banking distribution is still limited to urban and semi-urban markets and banking services are not available to the vast majority of the populace. It is estimated that only 15% of the adult population remains banked out of a population of over 180 million people and hence Pakistan has one of the lowest financial penetration levels in the world.
But even for the banked, convenience is not exactly available at the fingertips. Consider the most basic use case of holding a bank account: the ability to deposit and withdraw funds safely, whenever needed. The 1-Link switch provides interoperability for all banks across all ATM machines installed but the ATM machines per capita coverage for Pakistan remains as one of the lowest in the South Asian region. While ATMs offer customers with a convenient way to withdraw funds, depositing funds into the bank account still remains a challenge, especially since physical bank branches are open on weekdays only, and till 5pm.
Recognizing this opportunity, Easypaisa become the first mobile money service in Pakistan to launch a revolutionary new service: Cash Deposit into any Bank Account from any Easypaisa shop. Utilizing theInter-Bank Funds Transfer (IBFT) service offered through 1-Link, Easypaisa has basically converted over 55,000 Easypaisa shops across Pakistan into human Cash Deposit Machines, allowing customers to directly deposit funds into any bank account in the country. Customers are no longer restricted to bank branches or banking hours to deposit funds, this Cash Deposit facility is available at all Easypaisa shops, facilitating access outside of banking hours and even on weekends.
This service benefits a multitude of customers including businesses that are open late and need to deposit their daily earnings, customers who are normally too busy during conventional banking hours, customers whose bank branch is too far, or even unbanked customers who want to make a payment to a banked customer’s account. In addition, the ability to deposit funds into the banking system is expected to help the overall economy of the country, where billions of rupees remain outside of the banking system in the form of hard cash.
With a per transaction limit of Rs. 25,000 per deposit, this service also allows Easypaisa Mobile Account subscribers to transfer funds between any Bank Account and their Easypaisa Mobile Account securely, thus overcoming one of the many hurdles of getting funds into their branchless banking accounts. Once the funds are in the Mobile Account, customers can use any of the myriad services offered from Bill Payments, Money Transfer or Airtime Recharge.
Easypaisa’s IBFT service is also unique in that it is the very first service to enable funds transfer across Mobile Financial Services (MFS) platforms, thereby promoting interoperability. In order to build an MFS ecosystem that focuses on facilitating customers all the current closed-loop mobile money services in Pakistan have to strive and move towards open-loop systems where customers can move funds between bank accounts and branchless banking accounts and vice versa. As more MFS providers connect to the national switch (1-link), the IBFT service enables interoperability amongst MFS players by giving customers an easy way of reaching their intended recipients, whether they are on the same network or not. By enabling cross-platform access, Easypaisa hopes to instill a spirit of cooperation amongst Mobile Money players to better serve customer needs, with the goal of building customer-friendly services that attract more users for the entire industry.