My eyes steer left and right as I struggle to swallow the words. They almost consume me. ‘I need to open a bank account.’ The sheer thought of opening a bank account and stepping foot in that unknown territory has always brought my 20-year-old self to my knees. I have always looked for the easier way out, and strangely enough, I found one.

Who would step out and dive into a deluge of procedures and paperwork if they could do the same with a literal two-minute recipe? The ingredients: a selfie, a CNIC, and your fingers. On your mobile screen. And it keeps getting better.

 

But what keeps getting better? It is the financial technology in Pakistan, and fortunately enough, the ease of attending to one’s daily life financial tasks. And it sure needs to get better. The pain points, precisely put, are:

 

  • Difficulties associated with physical banking. The procedures are or at least should be, a thing of the past. Because of rampant fraud, for example, having to call the bank every time before using a debit card to make an online purchase is a…struggle.

 

  • Poor Digitalisation in existing banks. Some banks just can not transition successfully since it requires a much more deep-rooted revamping of the system. Until then, the mobile applications for many flagship banks like UBL continue to lag and lack.

 

  • The Underserved Freelancers. Pakistan, being the 4th largest freelancing economy globally, remains to have an enormous fraction of its freelancer community devoid of appropriate and convenient means to receive foreign payments.

 

  • Lack of Financial Inclusion. 87% of the 220 million large population of Pakistan remains unbanked.

 

It is because of this unbanked majority that the scope and potential for FinTech keep burgeoning. The industry thus aims to automate and optimize the use and delivery of financial services through modern innovations like digital-first banking, for example, SadaPay, NayaPay, QisstPay, and so forth. Not just this, micro-finance banking like Jazz Cash and Easy Paisa is also revolutionizing the FinTech game. The pressure points it targets to release us from the pain are:

 

  • Ease of usage enhanced Customer Service. SadaPay, for example, has no monthly fees, no transaction fees, and no debit card fees, too.
  • Fewer Expenses, More Speed.
  • Transparency and Security.
  • Financial Inclusion.

 

While the tide of change is pleasing to the heart, whether the day will be saved, however, is a question reliant upon the government and SBP’s interest in the Fintech revolution, and the Financial Literacy of the common folk. The latter pertains to knowledge of things as basic as income, investment, and saving. According to a report, Financial Literacy in Pakistan is at a mere 26% as opposed to developed countries at the 70% mark. However, the cure to this menace has fortunately been bred via an SBP founded and executed phased financial education of adults and youth; namely the NFLP (National Financial Literacy Program) and the NFLP-Y for the youth as divided into three age groups.

It is at the convergence of this government interest and national financial literacy that Fintech can truly bloom. Though the question I leave you with is: Is financial literacy truly only a government-can-do-it initiative? Where are Pakistani Financial literacy content creators/influencers?

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