SBP presented its second payment systems quarterly report for the fiscal year 2021-22 on Saturday, covering the months of October through December of that year. According to the report, digital banking is becoming more popular in the country. Customers’ preference for using e-banking services increased by 10.7pc in volume and 22.8pc in value during the current quarter. This is a quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) increase. The term “e-banking” refers to the practice of conducting financial transactions entirely online, whether through a bank’s website, an ATM, a mobile app, an internet browser, a call centre, a point of sale, or an eCommerce site. In comparison to paper-based transactions, the growth of e-banking transactions is much more rapid, despite the fact that the value of transactions is higher in the latter case. Paper-based transactions grew by 3.4 percent and 12.2 percent in volume and value, respectively. E-banking transactions have a value of Rs33.4 trillion compared to Rs41.6 trillion in paper-based transactions, despite the fact that their volume is nearly four times larger at 400 million than at 101.4 million for the latter. A double-digit increase in the value and volume of transactions was seen in both mobile and online banking during the second quarter. There were 94 million mobile banking transactions worth Rs2.2 trillion, an increase of 18.8pc and 35.4pc on a quarter-on-quarter basis. It’s also worth noting that the number of mobile banking customers increased by 5 percent year-over-year to 11.9 million. On a quarterly basis, internet banking users totaled 6.9 million people, doing 33.8 million transactions totaling Rs2.4 trillion, a 13.9 percent rise in volume and a 28 percent increase in value. Similarly, the retail industry has seen a steady rise in the use of digital payments. 92,153 POS terminals processed 31.4 million transactions worth Rs178.1 billion in the third quarter. Figures from the previous quarter show an 11.8 percent volume increase and a 32.1 percent value increase. E-commerce merchants increased by 32.6 percent to 3,968 in the same time period. Growth in the number of QR merchants was a major factor in this. The volume and value of these transactions increased by 7.2pc and 19.8pc, respectively, on a quarter-on-quarter basis. Debit Cards (63.5pc), Social Welfare Cards (22.8pc), ATM-only Cards (09.9pc), Credit Cards (3.6pc), and Prepaid Cards made up the majority of the 48.6 million in circulation by the end of December 2022, a 5.4pc increase over the previous quarter (0.3 percent ). Paper-based transactions grew by 3.4 percent in volume and 12.2 percent in value in this quarter, compared to the previous quarter. SBP’s Real-time Inter-Bank Settlement Mechanism (PRISM) processed 1.1 million transactions worth Rs161.3 trillion in the large-value (wholesale) payments segment, representing a quarter-on-quarter growth of 5.9pc in volume and 1.4pc in value.