Major progress has been made recently towards a ‘digital Pakistan’, particularly with regard to the banking sector. As part of the Raast program, a digital payment system, the State Bank of Pakistan has asked all banks to introduce free person-to-person (P2P) transfers to move funds instantly, free of charge and in encouraging the habit of using digital banking services in the country. Given the comprehensive procedures already in place at banks, installing this system should be a fairly straightforward process.

The way P2P transfers would work is that mobile numbers registered with bank accounts would be defined as Raast IDs and these, in turn, would be linked to an International Bank Account Number (IBAN). This not only simplifies the process, but also makes it reliable, secure and fast (every transfer is completed in 20 seconds) for every customer.

The quality of convenience is further enhanced by the fact that the facility would be available through the mobile app, internet banking and even at branch counters. This is a major step towards the digitization of the economy initiative and given the convenience of setting it up, the service could be up and running in no time.

A problem that persists despite the increased developments in the world of digital technology is the lack of awareness on how to use these services to avail benefits such as free and immediate money transfers. For this, the State Bank has uploaded explanatory videos on YouTube, as well as on its website, for people to watch and learn. It will further be presented at bank counters by representatives so that people are also brought on board for the much needed initiative.