Opening a bank account was never this easy. With the launch of Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) scheme, you just have to dial *2262# from your mobile phone, choose one of the 13 branchless banking banks and four telecoms, and feed your CNIC credentials. You are all set to receive and transfer cash, pay your bills, make online purchases, and so on in less than two minutes.

The customer verification and screening are done in real-time in a minute using the National Database & Registration Authority data. Your mobile number becomes your bank account identity. You can access and operate your account remotely using a simple mobile phone with no internet connection as the scheme runs on USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) protocol.

For any serious endeavour aimed at boosting financial inclusion of the unbanked population — particularly women, low-income segments of the population and those living in far-flung areas — and with nearly 60 per cent of mobile phone owners in Pakistan using simple phones, the USSD technology is the best candidate for connecting the last mile customers with financial institutions through a digital payment system.

The World Bank initiative was soft launched by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in collaboration with the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) in December last year. The technological infrastructure and support for the AMA project is provided by Virtual Remittance Gateway (VRG), a mobile financial services platform for digital banking and financial inclusion.


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