Telenor launches mobile savings account in Pakistan

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Norwegian operator’s local unit extends its partnership with Tameer Bank with launch of Khushaal Munafa.

Telenor has extended its existing mobile payments service in Pakistan to include a savings account that enables users to earn interest.

In partnership with Tameer Bank, Telenor Pakistan on Monday announced the launch of Khushaal Munafa, which it claims is the country’s first savings product on a branchless banking platform. The service builds on the Easypaisa mobile money service the two companies set up via a joint venture in 2009 and is aimed at rural and cash-dependent users.

“Khushaal Munafa will focus on micro savings, promote savings and reduce vulnerability of low income families,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor’s group CEO.

“Easypaisa’s key objective is financial inclusion, and savings are an integral part of getting people to start using formal financial services,” he added.

Pakistan is a cash economy and more than 80% of the population do not hold traditional bank accounts, Telenor pointed out. Nonetheless, people still need to be able to save for major events in life, as well as being able to transfer money.

To benefit from the savings product customers need to hold an Easypaisa Mobile Account, which work like a normal bank account, Telenor said, but enables users to pay bills and transfer funds from their mobile phones. The accounts are available only to existing and new Telenor customers.

Account holders can earn interest of up to 9% on savings of 2,000 rupees (€15) or more

“Khushaal Munafa will help create a financial ecosystem for the bottom of the pyramid and empower them with the basic rights to avail services that provide an affordable and convenient method of integration into the world of financial services,” said Nadeem Hussain, president and CEO of Tameer Micro Finance Bank.