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Pakistan's best digital bank 2021: UBL


Pakistan’s banks, like others worldwide, faced a big test in 2020 when Covid struck and disrupted the traditional way to bank and do business. But numerous banks managed to capitalize on the pivot to online and digital banking, thanks to the efforts made ahead of the pandemic to modernize services.

In Pakistan, UBL’s digital franchise deserves recognition, thanks in part to the bank having set the stage for change in 2018 when it launched its mobile app.

By the end of December 2020, the bank had seen digital app registrations of nearly 1.4 million, 33.8% higher than the 1 million recorded a year earlier.

In the third quarter of last year, it recorded 5.8 million digital transactions with a total value of PRs328.3 billion ($2.09 billion), versus 36.4 million transactions industry-wide with a value of PRs908.7 billion. This means UBL snagged a 16% share of all transactions, and about 36% by transaction value.

UBL, which is led by CEO Shazad Dada, rolled out several new features in 2020. In August, it launched a Chatbot feature which can be accessed by customers through their Facebook messenger app and which proved popular as a way to solve queries quickly.

It kicked off a payment feature called UBL Pay, which offers contactless payment solutions for clients, and collaborated with the central bank on an instant payment system initiative that promotes financial inclusion by allowing for end-to-end digital payments among individuals, businesses and government entities.

There’s more on the way. In early 2021, UBL launched WhatsApp banking services where clients can get financial support by simply using the chat app. Although this is still in the pilot phase, UBL expects this feature to lower its operational costs by 15%.

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