Monday, March 4, 2024

Bank Alfalah Launches Pakistan’s First Digital Payments Sales and Service Centers Focusing on Merchants and Small Businesses

Bank Alfalah, one of the leading commercial and digital banks, inaugurated Pakistan’s first Digital Payments Sales and Service Centers- digital payments hubs strategically positioned in the vibrant and bustling Badar Commercial DHA and Disco Bakery Gulshan in Karachi to facilitate and provide convenient access to merchants and small scale businesses for all their payments acceptance and financing needs within the sphere of digital eco-system.

In 2023, Bank Alfalah achieved unprecedented digital banking success, winning the Best Digital Banking award at the coveted Pakistan Banking Awards for the second consecutive year for its significant performance, as nearly 80% of counter transactions and 99% of eligible account opening this year are through the Bank’s paperless digital channels

In its extensive network spanning over 984 branches and launching ‘Pakistan’s First Digital Lifestyle Branch’ in 2023, Bank Alfalah is now introducing an innovative digital payments sales and service center targeting merchants and small-scale businesses. The center will handle automated daily fund withdrawals and deposits of customers and be the nexus in the area with over 200 merchants, facilitating them with services such as self-service digital merchant onboarding for digital payment acceptance, payment card issuance, instant cash/cheque management and meeting working-capital needs.

The center located at Badar Commercial DHA was inaugurated by the honourable Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Inayat Hussain and other notables along with the senior management of Bank Alfalah, including Atif Bajwa, the President and CEO, Muhammad Yahya Khan, Group Head, Digital Banking Group and Mehreen Ahmed, Group Head, Retail Banking.

Speaking at the launch event, the Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Inayat Hussain, expressed, ‘Digitisation is the only way forward for inclusive banking in Pakistan. The State Bank of Pakistan is committed to driving this transformation, working with banks, and ensuring that digital payment channels and innovative ideas like digital payments sales and service centers are utilised by banks for the financial convenience of people in Pakistan.’

Atif Bajwa, President and CEO of Bank Alfalah, stated, ‘At Bank Alfalah, we are driven by a commitment to providing our customers with the most relevant, convenient and efficient banking services. Introducing Digital Payments Sales and Service Centers in market areas is a testament to our dedication to innovation and ensuring that our small business customers can access banking and, in particular, payment services at their businesses with support in the vicinity at all times. These centers are a one-stop solution, facilitating various self-services to meet the diverse needs of our valued small business/merchant customers.’

The Digital Payments Sales and Service Center will facilitate Banking for Merchants and Small Scale Businesses with integration on the Alfa Business Merchant App, offering the following services:

A) Digital onboarding services

  • Easily onboard as a payment acceptance merchant using the Alfa Business Merchant App(available on the App Store).

B) Digital merchant acceptance services:

  • Merchants can generate static or dynamic QR codes through the Alfa Business Merchant App and receive payments via ‘Raast-Person-2-Merchant’ at a low Merchant Discount Ratio(MDR).
  • Digital merchants can top up customers’ wallets using the Alfa Business merchant app for cash-to-digital conversion at the point of sale.

C) Digital merchant financing and payment card services:

  • Merchants can apply for instant digital merchant working capital financing lines on the ‘Alfa Business Merchant App’ without paperwork and automatic repayments.
  • Merchants can issue co-branded store payment and loyalty cards to customers using the Alfa Business Merchant App.

D) Online web-store merchant services:

  • Merchants can set up their online store using the Alfa Business Merchant App.
  • Use instant digital plug-ins to integrate the Alfa Payment Gateway with their web store for online payments.
  • Smaller merchants can generate payment links for later use and accept digital payments via debit or credit card through SMS and WhatsApp.
  • Issue co-branded internet-shopping multi-purpose virtual and loyalty cards to customers for online purchases with customisable limits and validity.

E) Round-the-clock merchant cash and cheque management services:

  • App-style Interactive ATMs, biometrically enabled, offer up to PKR 200,000 per transaction and a daily limit of PKR 1,000,000, the highest in Pakistan, ideal for small merchants.
  • Fast Cash Deposit Machine(CDM) instant deposits funds into any 1-link member bank account in Pakistan anytime, anywhere, which is particularly beneficial for managing small business cash overnight.

F) Digital fee collection services for educational institutions and restaurants in the vicinity:

  • Using the Alfa Fee Gateway, educational institutions can streamline fee collection via Cash Deposit Machines, the Alfa app, and debit and credit cards.
  • Institutions can provide Study-Now-Pay-Later financing through the Alfa Payment Gateway.
  • Institutions can issue co-branded identity cards for fees and on-campus expenses.
  •  Restaurants can join digitally, providing ordering, cobranded payment loyalty cards and digital payment solutions via the Alfa Business Merchant app.

 G) Merchant savings:

  • Merchants can secure an Islamic or conventional savings plan with tenures ranging from 7 days to 1 year, earning a remarkable annual profit rate of up to 18-20.5%(subject to change).

H) Shopping on instalments with QR code scanning:

  • Scan QR codes for bikes, phones, or tablets and pay in instalments using any bank’s credit card on the AlfaMall digital portal.
  • The strategic placement of these centers reflects Bank Alfalah’s mission to make banking services accessible to everyone, everywhere, utilising its digital strength. The Bank also plans on expanding further in other market vicinities and cities.
  • The Bank aims to extend its digital payment services to a wide range of small businesses and merchants, fostering financial inclusion and reducing cash in circulation in the economy.

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