State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in its efforts to increase financial inclusion in Pakistan has issued a regulatory framework that will allow Payment Service Providers to install and operate their own ATM machines just like banks in the country. The decision was taken after unsatisfactory performance of banks in increasing ATM network. Banks were directed by SBP to maintain Branch to ATM ratio of 1:1 which unfortunately could not be achieved. Hence, a new initiative has been taken to make accessibility of basic banking services widespread.

What is White Label ATM Operator ?

PSP applying for this license have been referred as White Label ATM Operators (WLAO). A detailed guideline has been issued by SBP that highlights the minimum requirements that must be fulfilled to install and run these machines. WLAO’s are expected to have expertise in deployment of ATM machines and their maintenance.

What are the guidelines to become WLAO?

To start off, any company interested to acquire license to operate as WLAO must require authorization under the Rules for Payment Systems Operators (PSOs) and Payment Service Providers (PSPs) first.

SBP, in its detailed documents, discusses requirements on hardware and service levels that WLAO must maintain. These directions refer to installation of camera, surveillance, hot-line, cash management and other common aspects related to ATM management.

What services can be offered by White Label ATMs

Following basic services can be made available on ATMs operated by White Label ATM Operators.

  • Cash Deposit
  • Cash Withdrawal
  • Interbank Funds Transfer (IBFT)
  • Utility Bill Payments
  • Account Statements
  • Balance Inquiry

Pricing

There is no specific pricing imposed by SBP on transactions through these ATMs. However, a nominal fee as is applicable on existing ATMs will also apply on transactions conducted through these ATMs.
It’s a great initiative taken by SBP. The framework given is flexible and will allow achive goal of widespread network of ATMs in the country.

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