With the addition of fresh services, the Mobile Financial Service (MFS) sector has witnessed a major transformation recently in the form of a 28% increase in transactions over a year, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
The data shows that clients made about Tk57,289 crore transactions through mobile banking services in January 2021. The amount stood at Tk73,393 crore in January this year.
Moreover, the transaction amount rose by Tk2,210 crore in January 2022 compared to December 2021.
Mobile banking services in the country have undergone a radical change owing to the convenience of transferring money from city to village areas and vice versa, said people involved in the sector.
As a result, the number of transactions is increasing with the number of customers. In addition, people have become more comfortable with mobile banking than direct and cash transactions since the inception of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, workers' wage, bonus, various social security allowances and grants of the government are now being sent through mobile banking services.
According to the central bank data, a total of 13 banks are currently involved in mobile banking. The number of registered customers stood at 11,40,51,000 at the end of January 2022.
Of the total registered clients, 6,28,81,000 are male and 5,08,49,000 are female. Meanwhile, the number agents stood at 11,35,000, the central bank data showed.
Apart from transactions, various new services are being added in the mobile banking system. Services include payments of electricity, gas, water, and other purchase bills, disbursement of salaries and allowances, remittance inflow.
In January 2021, Tk22,408 crore was deposited (Cash In) in various mobile banking accounts, while Tk19,730 crore was withdrawn (Cash Out) from accounts.
The Bangladesh Bank data showed, in January 2022, Tk20,815 crore was transferred from individual to individual accounts in MFS. In addition, Tk2,663 crore of salaries and allowances from various organizations have been disbursed and Tk1,157 crore has been paid as bills of various services.
"The number of MFS transactions has increased alongside the country's overall financial activities since we began to recover from the pandemic setbacks," said Shamsuddin Dalim, head of public relations at bKash – a popular mobile banking service provider in the country.
Moreover, the reliance on MFS transactions created among people during the pandemic fostered companies like bKash to regularly add new services. With that, the scope of mobile financial services rose and so did the number of users, he said.
Besides, the government is also using mobile financial services to disburse various types of allowances. As a result, steady growth of transactions in this sector is being witnessed, the bKash official added.
The Bangladesh Bank launched a mobile banking program in 2010. However, the country's first private sector mobile financial service commenced on 31 March, 2011 with the launch of Dutch-Bangla Bank's service Rocket.
Soon after Rocket, BRAC Bank launched its mobile banking service bKash as a subsidiary. At present, bKash holds the majority stake of the mobile banking service market.