UBL Omni Branchless Banking for Flood Victims in Pakistan

UBL Watan - PakistanPSMEDA has partnered with United Bank Limited (UBL) in Pakistan to help them to expand their successful branchless banking platform, UBL Omni, to reach over 1.2 million poor, mainly “un-banked” individuals and families who were victims of the devastating 2010 floods. Most banks do not serve rural areas, and over 80% of Pakistanis do not have a bank account.

Through a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UBL is bringing Pakistan’s electronic banking services to rural and non-traditional consumers. MEDA supported the bank to engage in design research to learn about customer experiences with banking and their financial needs, has provided project monitoring, and will also help to document and disseminate the results of the branchless banking innovation in government-to-person (G2P) payments in emergency situations for the wider development community, through blog posts and case studies.

To date, UBL has distributed VISA debit cards to over 1.2 million flood victims and has disbursed nearly $300 million in emergency aid from the Government of Pakistan through the WATAN cards. These funds will allow families to begin to rebuild their homes and livelihoods, and eventually the cards will also allow customers to access other banking services, such as money transfers or savings accounts, and contribute to increased financial inclusion in Pakistan.

Project Quick Facts

Goal : Reach over 1.2 million flood victims with fast and safe access to emergency relief funds using branchless banking technologies

Reaching : 1.2 million

Funding : The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Project length : Dec. 2010 to June 2012