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Wednesday Mar 18 2020
Web Desk

SBP instructs banks to waive off online transaction charges amid coronavirus outbreak

Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday directed banks to make digital payments easy to discourage people from going to ATMs and banks as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.

"The objective of these measures is to reduce the need for visiting bank branches or the ATMs and to promote use of Digital Payment Services such as internet banking, mobile phone banking etc," read a statement from the SBP.

The state bank has instructed banks to waive off all charges on online banking channels such as Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) and SBP’s Real Time Gross Settlement System. People will be able to transfer funds through phones and online.

This will not only be economical for customers but will also help them avoid the use of cash, which can trnasfer the virus to multiple people. The SBP announced that all helplines and call centres will be available to help customers 24/7.

"Financial industry has been instructed to immediately facilitate education fee and loan repayments through internet banking or mobile devices. Financial institutions shall also run awareness campaigns through different channels to educate customers to use internet banking or mobile phones, limit use of currency notes and restrict branch visits. Anticipating any frauds in the wake of digital transactions, SBP has advised financial industry to increase vigilance on digital channels and increase monitoring on cyber threats," read the statement. 

Pakistan on Wednesday reported its second coronavirus death, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said on Twitter, almost an hour after the first one was confirmed.

The national tally of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 290.