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Coronavirus: SBP to promote digital payment system from March 20

Coronavirus: SBP to promote digital payment system from March 20

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday announced a string of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country by promoting the use of Digital Payment Services.

The SBP in a circular stated: To curtail the risk of spread of corona virus (COVID-19) and limit the physical interaction of citizens at branch level, Banks/MFBs/PSOs are advised to implement following measures with effect from March 20, 2020:

Banks/MFBs shall run campaigns on print, electronic and social media to create awareness and promote the use of Alternate Delivery Channels (ADCs) to limit the use of currency notes and minimizing branch visits.

Banks/MFBs are also advised to ensure that call centres/helplines are available 24/7 for instant customer support for issues relating to all ADCs including ATMs, POS machines, Internet Banking, Mobile Banking etc. The media campaigns shall clearly mention the contact details of their helpline/call centres. Status of outstanding complaints related to ADCs shall be reported to PSD as per Annexure-A.

Banks/MFBs shall waive the transactions charges on RTGS customer transfers (MT 102 and MT103). In this regard, SBP has also waived charges on such transactions with immediate effect till further instructions.

Banks/MFBs shall waive all charges for customers using their online fund transfer services including Intra and Interbank Fund Transfers (IBFT) till further instructions.

Further, it has been decided that fee earned on all online Bill Payment Services including utility bill payments, mobile top-ups and collection of taxes and duties shall be shared equally between Banks/MFBs and the concerned PSO.

Banks/MFBs/PSOs/PSPs shall make arrangements on urgent basis to: (i) Enable digital collection of all challans/invoice based payments such as education fee; (ii) Offer loan repayments facility through online/digital channels.

To facilitate Banks/MFBs, the requirement of biometric verification for customers to activate internet and mobile banking as per PSD Circular No 9 of 2018 is suspended till further instructions. However, Banks/MFBs shall ensure; (i) customer authentication and verification using appropriate measures and (ii) safety and security of customer transactions.

Banks/MFBs/PSOs are advised to ensure the 24/7 availability of all their ADCs including ATMs, POS, internet banking, payment gateways, mobile banking and call centres for customers. Further, Banks/MFBs/PSO/PSPs shall enhance vigilance on digital channels and increase monitoring on cyber threat actors taking advantage of the situation to conduct email, ransomware attacks, phishing etc. In this regard, all 1Link member Banks/MFBs are advised to urgently deploy Fraudulent Transaction Dispute Handling (FTDH) system and strictly adhere to timelines for resolution of fraudulent transactions.