In a change to its existing policy, State Bank of Pakistan has ordered all banks and other financial service providers to stop charging consumers for providing SMS alerts for transactions or other critical information.
Currently, banks normally charge nearly 100 rupees per month to provide SMS alerts to customers. However, after this change comes into effect in January 2019, customers will be able to avail this service without any charges.
This order is part of a new set of directives released by SBP to counter the wave of cybercrimes against Pakistani banks in the past few weeks. Some other important directives issued by SBP are:
- Banks are directed to upgrade their system by March 31 so that customers can activate and block their cards for online and international transactions as and when they want.
- Banks shall replace the existing debit and credit cards with chip-and-pin payment cards by June 30th next year.
- Banks will activate online banking only after the biometric verification.
- Banks have been advised to make an internal vulnerability assessment to identify the flaws in the payment system and submit recommendations to SBP by March 31st on how and when this could be fixed.
- Real-time fraud monitoring tools to be developed by January 31st with a procedure to detect, report and response to the threats with 24-hour monitoring of online payments and in case of any theft, banks should inform the central bank as well as customers within 48 hours and compensate them in as many days.
- Imposition of daily transaction limit with international partners and cross-border transactions to minimize the cyber attacks.