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Digital wallets, other apps drive Pakistan's fintech ambitions

Analysts say technology is filling a vacuum left by traditional banks

Experts say that fintech companies have been far more successful than brick-and-mortar banks at drawing people into Pakistan's formal financial systems. (Source photo by AP) 

ISLAMABAD -- Karachi-based law student Hiba Faisal used to borrow her father's debit card every time she wanted to buy something online. But that changed a couple of months ago when the 21-year-old turned to one of a growing wave of apps that are looking to transform parts of Pakistan's financial system.

"Now I make all ... purchases through my [NayaPay] digital wallet, which I signed up for in a few minutes," Faisal told Nikkei Asia, adding that she had never opened a bank account due to the "hassle" and heavy paperwork. "Thanks to digital wallets, we just need a smartphone to start spending money online."

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