Moot on digitization of money

KARACHI: Monetary transactions should be made easier by spreading awareness among people and merchants regarding usage of digitization of money in the market as the trend is being followed globally which would also improve trade and commerce.

“Selling and purchasing of products in developed countries is mostly being done through digital accounts via e-mails, mobile phones and branchless banking systems,” said Head of Branchless Banking Bank Alfalah Amaar Ikhlas while addressing the event “International Retail Banking Summit in Pakistan” organized by Efma at State Bank of Pakistan Auditorium on Wednesday.

He said there was need to rebuild and rewire businesses to start transforming them into digitizing from analog. Just superficial efforts would not work.

Ikhlas said digitizing had started taking hold of the market substantially. Telecom industry was badly hit due to the effect of digital softwares and applications such as Whatsapp, Viber and Skype, which are mostly providing free services.

Group Head Branchless and e-Banking United Bank Limited Abrar Ahmed Mir stressed need for collaboration between retail banks and mobile phone service operators to expand base for branchless banking.

He said reaching customers with different offers after assessing their data would be productive. “Due to illiteracy and less scope customers are unable to keep their money in digital accounts.”

Mir said there was a need to expand Inter Bank Fund Transfer system, the system which could transfer money from one banking system to other, to merchants who could accept that for their businesses.

Representative of Telenor Syed Abid Raza while narrating the success story of Easypaisa said that Easypaisa had become a trademark for money transfer.

“People would ask shopkeepers to Easipaisa the money even if the shopkeeper is using another service,” he said.

He said four million utility bills were paid last year through Easypaisa, which had saved people from the fatigue of queuing in banks.

In another session, Group Head Consumer Banking & Marketing Meezan Bank Muhammed Raza said that Islamic banking had lots of potential and the progress of Islamic banking made over years had proved that people had accepted the system well, though challenges still existed.

“Islamic banking has opened branches in over 110 cities and it has introduced new products by the passage of time after thorough researches,” he said.

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