May 23 - 29, 20

Banking is one of the most information intensive sectors and an ideal domain for the successful development of E-commerce. E-banking refers to the use of the internet as a remote delivery channel for banking services. It has fulfilled customer's anywhere, anytime, anyway banking dream.

E-banking involves consumers using the internet to access their bank account and to undertake banking transactions. With the passage of time, we see a lot of banks coming up on the scene and competition is already on its way. Every bank in Pakistan is trying to use as much latest technology as it can to facilitate its customers. One of the key features in this regard is e-banking, which a lot of banks are currently providing in Pakistan.

Though with the passage of time, e-banking trend is increasing, still there are a lot of customers, who hesitate to give their information online, like debit/credit card numbers. This is not only at customer's end. Even a lot of banks are still afraid of giving e-banking solution in Pakistan.

However, banking experts believe that there exist a lot of problems for the banks regarding e-transaction. With the passage of time, trend is changing but still we are lacking in use of modern technology which must be utilized to save money, problems and most important thing 'Time'. An awareness campaign may be started to make people aware of useful benefits of e-banking, like easy purchase, pay your bills, and make transactions from your offices and home, they added.

Hope this will work to make the banks to start online services to meet up the present advancement of world, they said, adding: "E-banking in Pakistan is till on its way and hope to have some fruitful advancements in future."

It may be noted that a report of the State Bank of Pakistan during the second quarter of the current fiscal year shows e-banking transactions increased 17.5 percent as compared to the first quarter. However, the traditional paper-based banking transactions increased 9.7 percent.

Overall Rs54.62 trillion transactions were made by e-banking in the second quarter, the report said. During this period, transactions of Rs287.50 billion were processed through ATMs, Rs44.75 billion through internet and Rs1.68 billion through mobile phone. E-banking transactions amounted to Rs5.5 trillion during the second quarter of 2010, showing an increase of 17.47 percent. The volume and value of overall e-banking transactions in the country during the quarter under review reached 56.42 million and Rs5.5 trillion respectively showing an increase of 7.30 percent in volume and 17.47 percent in value compared to previous quarter.

ATMs, being the largest channel for e-banking transactions, showed 5.6 percent increase in number of transactions and 9.5 percent increase in value which resulted in an average value of Rs8,804 per ATM transaction. A significant increase was also recorded in transactions related to real-time online branches (RTOB) as the number of such transactions grew 10.59 percent and value of transactions increased 17.97 percent.

The report said this trend was also witnessed in the large value payments settled through Pakistan Real-time Interbank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM), which increased 12.73 percent in volume and 13.49 percent in value of transactions compared to the previous quarter. The major portion of PRISM transactions, in terms of value was settlements against securities, which accounted for 46 percent of the total transactions followed by interbank funds transfers (38 percent) and settlement of retail cheques multilateral clearing (16 percent).

On the other hand, the volume and value of paper based retail payments during the quarter under review were 88.46 million and Rs39.07 trillion respectively, which increased 6.63 percent in volume of transactions and 9.75 percent in value of transactions compared to the previous quarter.

The contribution of paper-based payments in total retail payment transactions was 61.06 percent in terms of volume and 87.73 percent in terms of value while the rest of the transactions originated from e-banking, it added. It may be mentioned here that safe, efficient, and reliable payment systems are vital part and backbone of financial infrastructure of a country.

The primary goal of a payment system is to enable fast and risk-free circulation of money in the economy, an essential prerequisite for satisfying timely payment obligations and improving liquidity in the financial markets. The scope of payment systems infrastructure continued to show a growing trend during the second quarter (October-December) of the current 2010-2011 fiscal year (FY11) as a total of 172 ATMs were added to the e-banking infrastructure bringing the total number of ATMs to a record level of 4,734 in the country.

On the other hand, as many as 309 more bank branches have been upgraded to RTOBs. Now 7,036 bank branches are offering real-time online banking out of total 9,483 bank branches existing in Pakistan.