Branchless Banking

Strategic Analysis Typology 

Branchless Banking:

Multiple suspicious transaction reports have been reported to FMU on Branchless Banking Retail agents. The details show that they are owners of either PCOs or kiryana stores and belong from different areas all across the Pakistan. All of them were maintaining Agent (branchless banking level-3) Accounts.

Main Findings of the Analysis:

The agents reportedly executed huge volume of P2P transactions using a single mobile phone number linked with several CNICs. Many instances were found where the agents carried out transactions by changing only the last digit of the CNIC numbers of the senders as well as the receivers. When the CNICs were checked through NADRA Verisys, the verification turned out to be negative with remarks “No Record Found”. As per SBP’s branchless banking regulations, revised on July 12, 2016, the transaction limit for P2P transactions can go up to Rs.50,000/- per month in case the Biometric verification System (BVS) is used at both sender and beneficiary end, however, the limit for P2P transactions is up to Rs. 15,000/- per month in the absence of Biometric Verification System but the agents are required to obtain the copies of the CNICs of the senders and receivers in that case.

Red Flags:

  • The senders and the receivers of the funds remain unidentified due to use of fake CNIC numbers.
  • All the transactions were structures and were carried out under the BVS (Bio Metric Threshold) which was 15000/- per month on each CNIC
  • The purpose of transfer of funds could not be ascertained.

Based on these findings the matter was referred to SBP to take necessary measures in the regard.

Action Taken by the Regulator:

  • As per feedback received by SBP since July 01, 2017 onwards OTC transactions are allowed with biometric verification only.
  • SBP’s Circular on biometric for BB services is available on the below link: C9-Annx-A
  • In follow up to above circular, SBP has also issued a letter to BB operators dated March 24, 2017.
  • Moreover, the reported accounts of BB agents were also blocked by the reporting entities based on the feedback provided by FMU.