To help freelancers even further, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has created a comprehensive structure for opening and running bank accounts.
New Facility for Freelancers by SBP
Under the system, freelancers will be allowed to open an Exporters’ Special Foreign Currency Account (ESFCA), as outlined in the Foreign Exchange Manual, in-person or remotely via digital means, to retain export proceeds concurrently with the associated principal PKR account.
All previous Freelancer Digital Accounts (FDA) shall be considered to have been opened under this system.
Under the attached framework, banks are advised to ease the onboarding of prospective freelancers.
1. Eligible Customers-Freelancers
All individuals, resident in Pakistan, engaged in provision of any digital/online services, including IT and IT related services against which payments are received from outside Pakistan
2. Mode of Onboarding
In-person or remotely through digital means
3. Information required at
the time of Account
CNIC/ NICOP/ POC number
Date of issuance of CNIC/ NICOP/ POC
Full Name (as per identity document)
Father/ Spouse Name
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Mother’s Maiden Name
Phone Number (mobile number)
In the case of minors, the account will be opened with the guardian, and above information about the guardian will also be obtained in addition to the minor’s information
4. Declarations/ Consents
(to be made part of the
Undertaking that the source of funds is freelance activities
Undertaking to confirm beneficial ownership of funds/ controlling rights and other information provided during the opening of the account
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)/ Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Declaration, if required
Acceptance of Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) of the account and consent to use the information/ documents provided for due diligence and supervisory functions
5. Documents required at
the time of account
Scanned/ copy of original ID card (CNIC/ NICOP/ POC) or record of NADRA verification
Live photo of the customer (only in case of digital onboarding)
Signature (Wet/ Digital/ Electronic) or any other authentication method recommended by the bank
6. Verification, Risk
Profiling and other
After receiving the customer’s account opening request and required
documents, the bank will carry out the required due diligence which
Biometric verification of customers including liveness check through NADRA (in-app or in-branch). In genuine cases, where biometric verification is not possible, the bank may utilize NADRA Verisys.
Screening of the prospective customer against applicable sanctions regimes, to ensure that services are not provided to proscribed/designated individuals.
In the case of digital onboarding, the following additional verification is required:
Checking that the applicant is a human by deploying any mechanism (e.g. CAPTCHA)
Verification of contact details through One Time Password received through cell phone, email, or callback
In cases where biometric verification is not possible due to genuine reasons, verification of any two particulars of the customer from the information received through NADRA Verisys (such as mother’s maiden name, place of birth, etc., which are not available on identity document) may be conducted
The bank shall ensure data/ privacy protection, safety, and security of information/documents through reliable IT security measures.
Upon satisfactory completion of the requirements, 2 accounts (Exporters’ Special Foreign Currency Account-ESFCA as defined in the FE Manual and a primary PKR account) will be opened simultaneously and the customer will be informed, accordingly.
Account may be opened with zero balance. Moreover, there shall be no maximum balance limit in the accounts.
Maximum turn-around time (TAT) for the decision to open and activate or decline is 2 working days from the time the required documents/ information have been submitted/uploaded and verification completed.
In case of decline, reasons should be recorded and communicated to the applicant in writing, preferably through digital means.
Cash withdrawal shall only be done in PKR. FCY cash withdrawal from these accounts shall not be allowed in Pakistan. However, cash withdrawal outside Pakistan using debit card shall be allowed.
7. Ongoing Monitoring/
After opening of account, as a part of ongoing monitoring and customer due diligence, banks may:
seek additional information from customers based on their ongoing internal risk assessment and compliance framework
carry out periodical re-profiling of the customers in accordance with their risk management framework including turnover in the account
To read our blog on “Pakistan plans to build 5k E-working centres for Freelancers,” click here.
In 2019, Mohammad Owais took the initiative of launching the TechX Pakistan. It is a blog project by assessing the gap in Local Technology & Social blogging. It has one simple goal of creating awareness about latest technological development in the world and especially in Pakistan. We break news, cover interviews, seminars and exhibitions locally and internationally both, related to IT Startups, IT best practices, Businesses, Automobiles, Smartphone Technology and Social Media.