KARACHI: Digital payments adoption continues its journey on upward trajectory and large-value payments segment, known as Real-time Inter-Bank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM), recorded a growth of 60 percent in FY21.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday released its annual Payment Systems Review (PSR) for the fiscal year 2020-21, which shows strong growth in the space of digital financial transactions in the country. According to PSR, the SBP continued its pursuit for the development of a robust and efficient payments ecosystem in Pakistan and this transformation was further fueled by an unprecedented pandemic raging its way throughout the world coupled with a supportive regulatory environment, which resulted in a sustained momentum of growth across all the key areas of the payments ecosystem.
The PSR revealed that transactions processed through PRISM, recorded YoY growth of 60 percent by number of transactions volume and 12.8 percent by value.
Similarly, overall e-Banking transactions registered YoY growth of 31.1 percent which highlights substantial increase in adaption of digital means for payments. This growth was spurred by major uptake in mobile banking 29 percent increase in the number of users, 133.6 percent and 178.7 percent increase in volume and value respectively) and internet banking increased by 32 percent in the number of users, 65.1 percent and 91.7 percent increase in volume and value, respectively.
This promising growth was achieved on the back of 27 banks offering app-based banking along with other entities offering innovative payment solutions for accepting digital transactions.
During FY21, digital payments adoption for retail transactions continued to show an upward trend. Due to the active efforts of the SBP, the number of card accepting POS machines saw a growth of 47 percent. Transactions processed through POS machines reached as high as 88.8 million amounting to PKR 453.1 billion, showing YoY growth of 26.3 percent by volume and 24.4 percent by value of transactions.
The same trend was reflected in e-commerce transactions as well. The number of e-commerce merchants reached 3,003 which shows double-digit growth of 76 percent. Consumers carried out 21.9 million online transactions worth Rs 60.6 billion on these locally registered e-Commerce Merchants during the year FY21 which amounts to significant YoY growth of 114.8 percent and 74.1 percent by volume and value of transactions respectively. These trends point toward healthy growth in fostering a more digitally integrated economy.
Similarly, on the card issuance side, as on end-June 2021, there were 45.9 million total cards in circulation that mainly comprised of Debit cards about 65 percent, Social welfare cards 18.4 percent, ATM only cards 12.6 percent, Credit cards 3. Percent and Prepaid cards some 0.3 percent. Collectively, these cards processed 708.7 million transactions amounting to Rs 8.4 trillion during FY2021.
The number of debit cards at the end of FY 2021 has been 29.8 million, observing a YoY growth of 11.8 percent and annualized growth of 13.8 percent during the last 4 years. Transactions processed through ATMs also grew to 598.7 million with the total value of Rs 8.1 trillion. This amounts to growth of 16.9 percent by volume and 25.6 percent by value on YoY basis.
The country’s core payment systems infrastructure remained operationally resilient. All channels of payment systems showed significant growth. SBP expects that going forward, the momentum of growth across all key areas of the digital payments ecosystem will continue to strengthen. Modernizing the country’s payment system and infrastructure is a key priority, for which SBP will continue to work on providing an enabling regulatory environment.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021