A Better Way Forward: Financial Services for Everyone in Pakistan

Imagine that you have household necessities to buy, but don’t have cash on you. Picture that you must pay your utility bill, but don’t have time to pay in person. Envision that a family member in another city needs money immediately, but doesn’t have a bank account.

Enter JazzCash — a convenient, secure, and accessible solution for all these situations (and others).

It’s with this vision that Jazz introduced mobile financial services (MFS) in Pakistan. Today, we catch up with Umair, head of digital analytics, strategy and channels at Jazz, to hear more about the amazing story of MFS in Pakistan.

When the time is right…

You don’t sit on the sidelines. You go for it!

Umair explains that, when Jazz recognized the need for mobile banking in Pakistan, a strategy to create and implement MFS was launched.

“In the early 2010s, Pakistan had about 60 percent mobile penetration, but only just over 10 percent banking penetration. People had access to mobile communication but not banking,” notes Umair.
Umair, the team with Aniqa Afzal Sandhu (Chief Digital & MFS Officer)

Clearly, market opportunity existed for Jazz, especially as data and SMS usage were beginning to pick up in Pakistan. There was obviously a lack of banking supply. The financial sector wasn’t doing enough to serve everyone.

“At the time, we had more than 25 million customers (formerly as Mobilink). The market reach was there to break barriers to bank penetration in Pakistan. We could truly enhance the lives of millions of people by giving them access to vital financial tools and services.”

So, the first step Jazz would take would be to provide basic banking services for the unbanked and underbanked. From there, MFS could begin to take off.

Put the foot on the pedal

JazzCash started operating by offering basic services like Domestic Remittances and Bill Payments before diversifying their product portfolio

“This represented the beginning of Mobicash, which is what JazzCash was originally called. It was an impactful first step. But this was only the beginning of what we planned to do.” states Umair.

JazzCash now goes beyond making bank deposits, bill payments, and money transfers. You can even purchase railway tickets, donate money, buy health insurance, and pay for your passport. Services have expanded to meet the evolving needs of the customer base.

“Right now, a lot of our focus is on e-commerce and the mobile wallet. People want a unified platform where all their financial activities can be done.”

So, Jazz is intent on constantly improving the MFS platform and increasing services. That entails creating new products, integrating new technologies, and establishing strategic partnerships.

“In mid-2017, we launched Visa debit cards for our mobile account users. This will make retail purchases more seamless and bring more users into the economic mainstream.”

You can’t overlook the importance of such services to society. This is what motivates the team at Jazz. Because MFS not only empowers users and consumers, but also businesses and the economy as a whole.

Go further than the vision

Ask Umair where MFS in Pakistan is going. You’ll get a powerful answer.

“Our goal is to make handling financial matters as easy as picking up the phone and swiping. We aim to be the nucleus of payments in Pakistan.”

Umair and the team hope to extend financial services to everyone in the country. They want to be the mobile platform that drives the country forward.

“Everything from buying daily necessities to receiving money from your loved ones abroad to is made seamless by JazzCash mobile wallet. We can build the best ecosystem because we have the customer base and innovative capabilities. We’re also not going to settle. Jazz can achieve more than even we imagined.”

Jazz has big dreams when it comes to MFS in Pakistan. Judging by the progress so far, it seems like only bright days are ahead.

The bigger goal: Be a part of taking Pakistan forward

For Umair and the rest of Jazz, there is a sense of duty to Pakistan. They must do their part. We have a lot of ways we can be an important part of Pakistan’s continual improvement,” describes Umair.

So there is a bigger goal in all of this. The team at Jazz keeps this in mind every day.

As Umair says, “The country is moving forward in a positive direction and we want to play an integral role in creating a better tomorrow. MFS is a key part of fulfilling that goal.”