Estimates shared by Pakistan Advertiser’s Society reveal that in 2017, nearly 72% of the country’s population had mobile phone subscriptions. There were 35 million active internet users and 31 million active social media users, of which 28 million users only used social media through mobile devices.
Combine these figures with the estimate that nearly 70% of web traffic is generated through hand-held devices (i.e. mobiles, tablets and others]), it can be extrapolated nearly 25 million Pakistanis are accessing internet through mobile devices.
A cursory glance at global trends shows that more than half the world population are active internet users. This means if Pakistanis are to follow the global trend, a further 32% of the population still need to be ‘activated’, yielding multi-millions in first-time revenue for the service providers. This itself should be incentive enough for businesses to think ‘mobile’, and for banking industry to actually launch a whole new domain.
There is a definite shift in tech-based initiatives slowly taking over our daily, cumbersome and manual chores. Today, groceries can be shopped online while airline and cinema tickets are reserved online, saving us from the hassle of long queues. The payment and settlement of utility bill payment is also something that can squeeze the lemons out of your soul. With utility companies, telcos and banks sharing APIs to create an enabling ecosystem, companies are starting to create products beneficial for the end-customer, helping to automate some parts of an otherwise frustrating experience.
A number of these apps are now available for download, but here are five popular Fintech apps which let you pay bills online, without the need of having a bank account.
EasyPaisa mobile account is an easy-to-use mobile wallet, through which you can make utility bill payments, online purchases, funds transfer, and a lot more. EasyPaisa claims to be the biggest financial services provider of the country, and quite rightly so, as it is available in the farthest areas of the country.
An online payment solution offered by the country’s largest mobile operator Mobilink, JazzCash also provides mobile wallet services to facilitate retail purchase, utility bill payment, international remittances, local funds transfer and much more. According to a report issued by State Bank of Pakistan, in 2017 Jazzcash crossed Easypaisa to become the market leader in terms of having most active mobile account holders — 41% Jazzcash users compared to 40% of EasyPaisa.
The mobile wallet solution by Zong, PayMax offers an across lifestyle payment experience to ensure that all your financial transactions are just a few taps away. Zong re-launched the mobile banking service ‘Timepey’ in 2017 with a new name “Zong PayMax” — in association with Askari Bank Limited — with a promise to offer utility bills payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, mobile top-up and money transfer facilities to its users.
SimSim is a digital wallet solution built by Finja, a zero cost payment platform with an integrated loan and E-Commerce marketplace. It promises free real-time payments through an E-wallet account, also allowing users to scan and pay using QR codes.You can pay utility bills, buy tickets online and also lend money from other users through the SimSim mobile app. To sum it up, SimSim is an Easypaisa-like mobile account but all transactions are done via its mobile app and there are no retailers or outlets to deposit or withdraw funds. However, its unique selling point is that it doesn’t charge for any transaction.
UBL Omni is a cross between conventional banking system and Fintech, this way a bank can now facilitate customers in far off places… and also extend cross-platform payment options. UBL Omni customers can carry out utility bill payments, inter-bank fund transfers, payment of zakat and donations, cash withdrawal, insured money transfer to people and a lot more services through mobile app.
One More for the Road
The sixth option can be termed a libero, since it is not a Fintech but enables you to pay utility bills benefiting from a smartphone app — it’s Bykea. Originally a ride-hailing app, Bykea lends you the services of a rider who deposits your bill at a bank branch or Fintech outlet.
Bykea is basically an all-in-one-app for transportation, delivery and payment services. “Users can order a movie ticket, a meal from a restaurant, deposit utility bill or ask for anything from the bazaar or from your home or office to be delivered to any required destination, it’s all in one facility,” reads a statement issued by the company.