KARACHI - The State Bank of Pakistan is engaged with the World Bank to beef up security checks on electronic payment transactions as technological advancement is playing a pivotal role in financial inclusion of unbaked people in the country, an official of the central bank said on Thursday.

"The State Bank of Pakistan in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders has been striving to strengthen the electronic delivery channels through automation and digitization. We are mindful of the critical role of technology in achieving the strategic objective of national financial inclusion," said Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Executive Director, State Bank of Pakistan at the 14th annual conference on e-Banking.

"The State Bank of Pakistan is currently working with the World Bank experts to develop the future payment system specific to Pakistan," he added.

The central bank is in the process to issue guidelines on Card Security and Prepaid Cards, he said.

The conference was organized by Total Communications in collaboration with 1Link and Pakistan Software House Association for IT & ITES (P@SHA).

The central banker said the alternate delivery channels like e-banking and branchless banking have emerged as supporting pillars of SBP's vision for financial inclusion.

"Over the past five years, e-banking transactions have witnessed a phenomenal growth. Volume of e-banking transactions has doubled. The number of users of internet banking has reached to over 1.8 million," Khan said.

"A total of 100 million transactions worth 526 billion rupees were carried out during July-September 2015. More than 13 million m-wallets have been opened so far and these numbers are increasing at a faster pace," he said.

Faisal Ijaz, chief executive officer, 1Link said the central bank is about to approve the revised down tariff for financial transactions via PayPak, Pakistan's first domestic payment scheme. "Besides, financial transactions, the PayPak would also include social services like BISP {Benazir Income Support Programme} and health insurance for poor segment of the society," he said.

Achim Von Bremen, Vice President Global Sales and Marketing Banking, Wincox Nixdorf, Germany, asked bankers to pay more attention towards customers' financial needs and then invest in technology accordingly. "Putting technology at first is wrong, put customers at first," he said.

The one-day conference also held two panel discussions on (1) Disruptive Trends in Banking and (2) Securing Your ATM Network & Other Channels.