Circulars/Notifications - Banking Policy & Regulations Department  
 BPRD Circular No. 01 of 2024
April 08, 2024

The Presidents/ Chief Executives
All Banks/ Microfinance Banks (MFBs)

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Facilitation Framework - Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) Sahulat Account

To enable the BISP’s beneficiaries to receive their financial assistance directly into their bank accounts, banks/ Microfinance Banks (hereinafter referred to as banks) are advised to open accounts of the beneficiaries as per the arrangement provided below. The framework shall be initially adopted as a pilot for onboarding BISP beneficiaries in Karachi and Lahore. After the successful implementation of the pilot phase, the scope of the framework, with adjustments if needed, shall be extended to other cities.

A. Onboarding of BISP Beneficiaries:

  1. The banks shall use a secure arrangement to receive account opening information from BISP which at the minimum shall include the beneficiary’s full name (as per CNIC), father’s/ spouse’s name, CNIC number, date of birth, mobile number and residential address. Further, BISP, before sending information to the banks, shall ensure that the CNICs of the beneficiaries are valid.    
  2. After receiving the information from BISP, banks shall carry out screening of beneficiary’s particulars against the lists of persons designated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and proscribed under The Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 as well as other relevant lists.
  3. Post-screening, the banks shall create accounts of beneficiaries in the branches identified by BISP. Thereafter, banks shall generate IBANs of such accounts and share them with BISP, under a mutually agreed and secure arrangement. The BISP will disburse the funds into these accounts through RAAST/IBFT.    

    The accounts, so created, shall remain inactive and debit blocked until the activation process described at para B below is completed
B. Accounts/ ATM Activation and Disbursement:
  1. The banks shall activate beneficiaries’ bank accounts, upon their visit to the relevant branch, through Biometric Verification (BV) with liveness checks. If BV could not be performed due to genuine reasons, banks shall document the reasons and conduct NADRA Verisys of BISP beneficiary for account activation purposes and inform BISP, accordingly. Further, banks shall also obtain information regarding date of issuance & expiry of CNIC, place of birth and mother’s maiden name from the BISP beneficiary.
  2. The banks shall also take oral consent from the BISP beneficiaries and record the same through marking relevant check box in their systems, for the following:
  3. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)/ Common Reporting Standard (CRS), wherever required.
  4. Acceptance of Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of these accounts.
  5. Account opening and use of information/ documents provided through the above process for due diligence and supervisory functions.
  6. After account activation, banks shall provide pre-activated PayPak cards (functional as debit and ATM card) in a sealed envelope to BISP beneficiaries. The banks shall also ensure and facilitate the generation of PINs on these cards during the account activation visit by the BISP beneficiaries. For the said purpose, banks may use any or all of the following options:
    1. Call centers
    2. ATMs
    3. SMS
    4. Mobile Apps
    5. Web Portals
    6. Others
  7. The banks shall not issue cheque books to the BISP account holder and shall not activate internet/ mobile banking facilities on such accounts.
  8. The banks, in coordination with BISP, may stagger dates of beneficiaries’ visits for the account activation process, to avoid unnecessary congestion. However, the whole process shall be completed in one visit of the beneficiary.
C. Accounts Operations:
  1. During the pilot phase, BISP beneficiary accounts shall be limited mandate accounts primarily meant for receiving disbursements from the BISP. Based on the results of the pilot phase, SBP may consider allowing normal operations in these accounts as permissible under branchless banking level 1 accounts.
  2. The banks shall recover all upfront and ongoing costs associated with account opening, issuance and maintenance of ATM cards, from the BISP and no such charges shall be levied on the BISP beneficiaries. However, the fee for issuance of replacement/duplicate debit/ATM Card, before its expiry, shall be recovered from the BISP beneficiary.
D. Facilitation and Support:
  1. The banks shall establish a dedicated function for the purpose of information sharing and ongoing coordination with BISP including resolution of issues facing the BSIP and its beneficiaries.
  2. The banks shall arrange training programs for their employees to ensure facilitation to the BISP beneficiaries during the account/ ATM PIN activation and subsequent disbursement process.
  3. The banks shall put in place mechanism for timely resolution of complaints of BISP beneficiaries and ensure 24/7 availability of customer support services.

Yours truly,


(Muhammad Javaid Ismail)

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