Branchless Banking: Asaan Mobile Account Scheme Launched
With the aim to bring unbanked population into formal banking services, the Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) scheme was formally launched, through joint efforts of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on 13th December 2021 in a ceremony held at SBP Headquarters, Karachi.
Governor SBP, Dr. Reza Baqir and Member (Finance) PTA, Mr. Muhammad Naveed were present at the launching event. Virtually addressing the ceremony, Chairman PTA, Maj General Amir Azeem Bajwa (R) said that with the launch of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), Government of Pakistan remains committed to strengthen the digital eco system for payments and financial inclusion in Pakistan. PTA’s role as one of the key implementers of the NFIS resulted in PTA and SBP teaming together for first ever regulatory framework for mobile banking interoperability in 2016. PTA and SBP also worked with relevant stakeholders to facilitate remote digital on-boarding.
Chairman PTA added that this scheme will also play a pivotal role in women’s economic empowerment thereby improving their socio-economic status in the country. He congratulated SBP, commercial banks, Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) and VRG on successfully launching the AMA Scheme. He said that with significant population of Pakistan being unbanked, the AMA Scheme will go a long way, as ubiquitous financial services will now be available and accessible to a huge market of over 187 million biometrically verified SIMs and subscribers.
The AMA scheme was designed with the objective to provide easy, swift, secure and cost effective channel for accessing financial services with complete interoperability among operators and financial institutions. The scheme powered by a unified USSD platform, allows opening of mobile banking account by dialing a simple code *2262# from any mobile phone (smart or feature phone) using a SIM of any mobile operator and making transactions without the need for internet connectivity. This scheme also has a broader objective of financial inclusion in the country, which is at the heart of all efforts of the government for a growing, stable and documented economy.