Pakistan financial inclusion program partners with top banks for biometric payments

Pakistan’s Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to reduce poverty has partnered with multinational bank Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Alfalah to make improvements to its financial assistance program by introducing a new biometric-based payment solution, designed to include poor women, announced Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection and Chairperson of BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar.

By integrating biometric technology, not only will the program be more transparent and efficient, but it will improve service delivery and fight fraud attempts, explained Dr. Nishtar. This partnership will save more than Rs. 2 billion (US$28 million) in terms of bank service charges, money that can be invested in other projects.

Women who are beneficiaries of the Kifalat Program receive assistance with health, education, and employment issues. They can now receive their financial help through biometric verification at branchless retailers, biometric enabled ATMs, campsites in remote areas, and biometric enabled bank branches.

BISP played an active role in designing the system. Other institutions and organizations that contributed are Ministry of Finance (MoF), SBP, NADRA, PTA, Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) and Controller General of Accounts (CGA) with technical assistance from World Bank and Department for International Development (DFID).

In December 2018, commercial banks in Pakistan introduced biometric verification of millions of account holders throughout the country to curtail corruption and money laundering activities.

In April, Islamabad International Airport installed cameras equipped with facial recognition in lounges for all flights.

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