karachi - State Bank of Pakistan Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra has said that mobile money landscape has proved a viable channel for the un-served and underserved masses to access financial services with minimum know-your-customers (KYC) requirements.

He expressed these views while addressing SBP-CGAP-DFID Workshop on Inclusion-Effective Interoperability held on Wednesday at a local hotel in Karachi.

Wathra encouraged the industry to develop interoperability solution in the market to catalyse the take up of mobile wallets, increase choices for the customers and expand the business of banks.

He stated that Pakistan mobile phone subscribers are almost 140 million. In contrast, the banking accounts are only 37 million whereas number of borrowers is as low as 6 million.

These statistics indicate that there exist a large “financially-excluded” market, facing difficulties in buying goods and services, paying utility bills, borrowing and saving, or investing in their future. Registering this un-served market through mobile wallets should be our key objective.

It is encouraging to see that the branchless banking sector is proving to be a driving force to penetrate into the unbanked geographies with an agent network of 168,000 agents, 4.2 million m-wallets and Rs. 1,063 billion worth of transactions for the last year. Despite the rapid growth, the BB industry has however not been able to register mobile wallets massively in comparison to the potential market.

A robust environment of interoperability in branchless banking shall benefit all participants in the payments ecosystem. End users, including consumers, merchants, governments and other types of enterprises would find it easier to make and accept payments.