KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has instructed banks to waive all charges on fund transfers through online banking channels such as the Inter Bank Fund Transfer and SBP’s Real Time Gross Settlement System for customers.
Such measures are aimed at reducing the need for visiting bank branches or the ATMs in the wake of coronavirus epidemic and to promote the use of digital payment services such as internet banking and mobile phone banking, the SBP said in a statement.
Thus, “people can transfer money through mobile phones or internet banking by avoiding visit to a bank branch or an ATM without incurring any cost.” Consumers will also not incur any cost in case they want to use ATMs or visit bank branches for transferring large sums of money, the SBP said. Banks have been advised to facilitate their customers in using online banking while taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of customers’ funds.
Furthermore, “banks are also directed to ensure that call centres/helplines are available round the clock for instant customer support”.
The SBP said the financial sector has been instructed to immediately facilitate education fee and loan repayments through internet banking or mobile devices. In addition to this, the financial institutions are now liable to run awareness campaigns through different channels to educate customers on how to use internet banking and mobile banking, limit use of currency notes and restrict branch visits.
In a bid to stave off any fraud in the wake of digital transactions, the SBP has advised the financial sector to increase vigilance on digital channels and enhance monitoring of cyber threats.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2020.
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