Telenor’s Easypaisa recently launched the Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) facility for mobile account holders as well as OTC (over the counter) customers. The service can be easily be called a giant leap towards interoperability in Mobile Financial Services (MFS) arena.
How it works:
The service is available as OTC service to anyone visiting an Easypaisa outlet as well as to mobile account users. OTC customers can send money to 24 different banks through an Easypaisa outlet by presenting their CNIC (Computerized National Identity Card) number to the agent. There is a limit of 15000 PKR per month per CNIC which is derived by the regulator.
Mobile Account users can simple dial a USSD shortcode to access the menu where they can choose the option of sending money to bank account. The limit is derived by the level of account the customer is subscribed for. Mobile Account users can also receive money from available banks. The transaction is initiated from interface provided by the bank and no action is required on part of Mobile Account user.
Behind the scene:
The service is made available by connecting with a banking switch known as 1-Link which has a large number of banks on board. The switch is being managed by a consortium of banks and is responsible for inter bank funds transfer and also provides the largest ATM network in Pakistan.
It’s only a matter of other MFS providers to come on board. Once they are connected with 1-Link, it would be technically possible to transfer funds from one MFS provider to another. However the regulator’s role is important in this area. The regulator has to ensure safety of consumers’ rights and make sure the MFS providers do not indulge in unhealthy competitions.