Says banks may set the limit higher
The State Bank of Pakistan has limited free interbank fund transfers to Rs25,000 a month, it announced Wednesday. The decision will take effect July 1.
In March 2020, the SBP had advised banks and other service providers to offer free-of-cost IBFT services to customers regardless of the transaction size.
The decision was taken to cope with the extraordinary situation of lockdowns amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The central bank noted that the Covid-19 situation has improved significantly and it now allows relaxation in mobility restrictions while following proper SOPs.
It said it reviewed the current IBFT pricing mechanism in this backdrop and made some changes to ensure that free-of-charge IBFT services are provided on a sustainable basis.
The SBP said the new instructions allow banks and other service providers to charge a minimal fee on high-value transactions, while protecting and encouraging the low-income segments to continue using digital transactions.
However, banks may choose to set this aggregate limit at a higher amount as well, it said.
“For transactions above the aggregate limit, banks may charge individual customers a transaction fee of no more than 0.1% of the transaction amount or Rs200, whichever is lower,” the central bank said.
This will enable service providers to recover part of costs they incur on IBFT services and build sustainable business models, according to the SBP.
“The SBP has also advised banks that all digital fund transfer transactions between different accounts within the same bank (intra-bank fund transfers) shall remain free,” it said.
“Further, incoming interbank fund transfer transactions shall also remain free.”
The central bank has directed banks to ensure proper disclosure of charges and free IBFT amounts along with applicable fees to their customers by sending regular notifications through SMS, apps and email.
“After every digital transaction, banks are required to send free-of-charge SMS to their customers on their registered mobile numbers, intimating them about the transaction amount and the charges being recovered,” it said.