KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday issued instructions to designated banks for compliance in facilitating overseas Pakistanis in opening their bank accounts.
The SBP said that it had launched the ‘Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) for Non-Resident Pakistanis’ (NRPs) to enable them to remotely open bank accounts in Pakistan through online digital portals of your bank without physically visiting branches.
For this purpose, SBP has already issued a simplified account opening framework and other regulatory instructions.
Using their RDAs, NRPs can now avail digital banking facilities, including access to online banking, domestic funds transfer, utility bills and tuition fee payment in Pakistan, as well as investments in government bills, stock exchange, and real estate sector with option of full repatriation.
To make the scheme a success it is imperative that participating banks provide excellent user experience and convenience to prospective and existing customers while maintaining high service standards. In this regard, the following instructions are being issued for strict compliance:
Development and Continuous Improvements of RDA Portals and Mobile Apps: Banks shall ensure compliance with the following minimum requirements for developing and maintaining their web portals:
Banks shall continuously endeavor to provide an exceptional and seamless digital experience to their customers via their web portals, mobile apps and other digital channels.
Bank shall ensure that official Logo of RDA as provided by SBP is clearly displayed on web-portals, mobile apps and other marketing collaterals.
Banks shall ensure full security of their digital channels including portals/mobile apps and ensure that customer information/documents are fully protected from unauthorized access.
Bank shall ensure that Data Security and Privacy Assurance Statements, explicitly mentioning that all the information/documents and data provided by customers is secure and will not be divulged, are displayed appropriately to ensure customer comfort in this regard.
Banks shall ensure that their web portals clearly provide an overview of the RDA scheme, and also display eligibility criteria and documentary requirements, as specified by SBP in the Framework for Remote/ Digital Onboarding of NRPs.
Banks shall ensure that video tutorials on how to open RDA account are provided on the web portals for customer assistance.
To provide 24/7 customer support, banks shall ensure that live chat option or other messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Chat options are working during account opening. Moreover, for customer information/guidance, banks shall ensure that Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are prominently placed on their RDA page and are regularly updated.
Banks shall ensure that customers are able to save their applications, either themselves or automatically, at any stage of the account opening process.
Banks shall ensure that a feedback form is available for customers who visit their portals/download mobile apps for account opening. Banks shall also provide other mechanisms for soliciting customer feedback via call centers, email, social media etc.
Banks shall offer both Islamic and conventional accounts, where applicable/allowed and in various eligible currencies (and not just USD) as per the relevant rules and regulations of SBP.
Banks shall provide services like online banking, online fund transfers in Pakistan, payments of utility and other bill, mobile and wallet tops ups in Pakistan, investment in government securities such as Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPC), round the clock currency conversion services, and immediate repatriation of funds to their customers.
Banks shall also arrange for issuing debit, credit and virtual cards to their customers and enabling their online usage.
Banks may work with other stakeholder and provide options for other lifestyle banking products like investments in Pakistan Stock Exchange, real estate and other products/services commensurate with customer KYC.
Bank may offer the service to dispatch the ATM/Debit card and cheque book at the registered address of the NRP/POC card holders outside Pakistan. For this purpose, the banks shall explicitly mention the applicable charges, and take consent of the customer on the charges before providing this services. The banks shall institute effective controls to manage the associated risks.
Account Opening Process: Banks shall ensure compliance with the following minimum requirements for ensuring a seamless account opening and monitoring process:
Banks shall ensure that accounts are opened and activated after seeking the information as specified in the Framework for Remote/ Digital Onboarding of NRPs issued by BPRD and updated from time to time. If banks require additional information as per their internal policies, they may do so after the accounts are opened and activated.
An account opening application may be considered as “In-Process”, once the bank receives a customer’s primary contact details such as name, valid email address/phone number and country of residence etc. These details should be solicited at the beginning of the account opening process. Banks shall ensure adequate follow up with these prospective clients to help them complete their application.
However, the bank may mark the application as “Closed – Customer not interested”, if the customer fails to complete their application and provide relevant documentation within a reasonable time-period, to be determined by the bank but which shall not be less than 30 days, or explicitly informs the bank of their intent to withdraw their application.
Banks shall depute adequate number of resources such as Relationship Officers to ensure that customers are contacted in a timely manner to avoid backlog of customer applications and unnecessary delays in account opening. Further, during the course of account opening, banks shall put in place an appropriate mechanism to update the customer of their application status, such as In-Process, pending due to missing information/documents, pending due to incorrect information, successful or declined.