Last year, the State Bank of Pakistan urged banks and other service providers like Easypaisa, JazzCash, etc. to provide free-of-cost IBFT services to all their customers, irrespective of the size of the transaction. The SBP issued the new directives in line with the uncertain situation of lockdowns imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. But now as the COVID situation got better, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) allowed the banks to charge customers for online fund transfer services which include Intra and Interbank Fund Transfer (IBFT).
SBP now Allows Banks to Charge Customers For Online Fund Transfer
The new guidelines from SBP allow banks and branchless banking services to charge a minimal fee on heavy transactions. However, it continued its efforts to protect and encourage the low-income segments of the population to use digital without any charges.
The SBP has instructed banks to render free-of-cost digital fund transfer services to individual customers up to a limit of Rs25,000 per month per account/wallet. However, banks also have the option to set this monetary limit at a higher amount as well. It would enable the individual customers to make as many IBFTs lying within their aggregate monthly limit of free transfers.
The banks will have the option to charge a transaction fee of no more than 0.1% of the transaction amount or PKR 200 for transactions above the aggregate limit of Rs25,000 per account in a month.
Consequently, it will enable service providers to recover part of the costs they have to bear on providing inter-bank fund transfer service. SBP has also instructed banks that all interbank funds transfers (transactions between the same banks) shall remain free.
Furthermore, the SBP has also directed banks to guarantee proper disclosure of charged and free IBFT amounts by sending regular notifications via SMS, apps, and email. After each online transaction, banks will be required to send free of charge SMS to their customers on their registered mobile numbers.
To render seamless online banking services to the public, the SBP has also advised banks to remove any limits on the number of transactions on their customer accounts/wallets unless there are genuine concerns regarding AML/CFT regime or any other frauds. According to the SBP, the above instructions will come into effect from July 1, 2021.