Pakistan is one of the most under-banked countries in the world. There are multiple barriers to overcome for people to open a simple bank account. Lack of literacy, understanding of financial management and a limited banking infrastructure are the most common barriers to banking in Pakistan. With around 10,000 bank branches in a country of 180 million plus people, the financial inclusion gap is wide and not easy to overcome.
Financial access which means making it possible for people to transact money and funds through formal banking systems is a huge problem especially in rural and remote areas of Pakistan.
Opening a bank account is not an easy or simple process either. It requires people to travel to the closest possible bank branch which could be miles away from where they live, to queue up for hours and on top of this often requiring complex documentation which is not only difficult to understand but is also cumbersome given the multiple processes involved.
But incredibly, more people have mobile phones than those with bank accounts. An account on the mobile phone is then just the solution to provide banking services to the unbanked. To bring more money into the formal banking system, Mobile Accounts are easily the best way to close in on the gap of financial inclusion in Pakistan.
There are close to 135 million SIM cards in the market and already a couple of million Pakistanis have started using their mobile phones to transfer funds back and forth.
Subhan Ali who is a security guard at a company in Faisalabad finds using a Mobile Account reliable, “I am so relieved because now my money reaches my family quickly and I get all confirmations on an SMS which really makes my job easier. Earlier I’d have to travel for days and take off from work just to get the money home.”
Now with Mobile Accounts, a new era of mobile banking has begun where people do not need to travel long distances to manage their bank account. All transactions can be carried out on any mobile phone through a simple menu which is available in English and Urdu.
Taimur Khan who lives in a village new Chakwal and works as a laborer believes that he does not really need a bank account because it’s far too complicated to go to a bank just to operate his money needs. He says, “I often transfer money through my friends or relatives or use the nearest Easypaisa shop. I don’t really understand how a bank account operates.”
Mobile Accounts are bringing the convenience to the people of Pakistan that banks have not been able to provide thus far, a means to manage funds on their own from their own mobile phones. Mobile Accounts are not just catering to the rural population but are also addressing the needs of the urban bank customer. With Easypaisa Mobile Accounts, a number of financial options are now available to corporate customers and the average person in the family unit.
Talha Hafeez, a college student in Lahore was an active advocate in his college “The very first banking account I opened was my Easypaisa Mobile Account. My father in Karachi transfers my pocket money every month, instantly and I withdraw these funds when I want from the easypaisa shop on campus. I don’t even need to leave my hostel when I run out of easyload as I can recharge my easyload easily and instantly.”
The future for mobile financial services in Pakistan looks bright as more people have begun to use their Mobile Accounts instead of regular bank accounts to transact money for their financial needs. Mobile Accounts is an effective way to address the need for financial inclusion in Pakistan.