Mobile Financial Services (MFS) saw the highest ever transactions in April thanks to an expansion of new mobile banking services and sending extra money by customers to their relatives for shopping on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The Bangladesh Bank's updated statistics show that customers transacted Tk93,032 crore through mobile banking in April this year. This is an increase of Tk15,730 crore compared to March.
However, the transactions of the postal department's service "Nagad" were not added here because the service is not yet licensed by the central bank. Adding Tk25,000 crore of Nagad, the mobile banking transactions rose to more than Tk120 crore.
Industry insiders say mobile banking services in the country have undergone a revolutionary change due to the convenience of sending money anywhere in the country, be it a city or village. As the number of customers increases, day by day so does the volume of transactions.
Workers' salaries, bonuses, various social security allowances and grants from the government are going through mobile banking. Various services such as purchase bills, payment of salary or tuition fees, and mobile phone recharges are all possible through the MFS service. In April this year, the turnover increased by Tk29,591 crore which is 46.64% as a percentage, they added.
According to the latest data from the central bank, there are currently 13 banks offering mobile banking services in the country under various names such as bKash, Rocket, UKash, MyCash and SureCash.
At the end of March 2022, the number of registered customers in mobile banking stood at more than 11.89 crore. There were 5.35 crore customers in the city and 5.73 crore in villages. Besides, among the registered customers, 6.41 crore are male and 4.63 crore are female, the data added.
More than 37 crore transactions took place in April. In that month, Tk27,740 crore was deposited in mobile banking accounts while Tk25,673 crore was withdrawn.
A Nagad official told The Business Standard that their services are becoming more popular in mobile financial services. Last March, Nagad's transaction was Tk22,000 crore, and in April, it increased to about Tk25,000 crore.
He added that in April, there was an average turnover of around Tk1,000 crore every day as that month was before Eid-ul-Fitr. In addition, various offers have been given to customers in digital shopping due to which the amount of transactions has increased.
Shamsuddin Haider, head of corporate communications at bKash, told TBS that one of the reasons for the increase in shopping in April is Eid-ul-Fitr. With Eid in mind, everyone sent money to relatives and also made payments through MFS for various types of purchases, so transactions increased.
He further said that as the country's economy is now fully operational, the volume of transactions is increasing and the scope of this service is expanding. Regular innovative technology and creative and timely services are being added in this sector. General transactions are becoming easier, safer, time and cost effective.
"The government's decision to use the mobile financial services, especially in the distribution of all kinds of government allowances, stipends and incentives has further increased the importance and necessity of this sector," the bKash official said.
"Customers from all walks of life are becoming accustomed to MFS transactions and their dependence is increasing. April saw the highest transaction figures as consumers spontaneously used MFS and overall economic activity returned to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic. It will come down a bit in May because there has been a slight decrease in transactions since Eid was celebrated on the 2nd of this month. But now the way people are leaning towards mobile banking, this trend of growth will continue," he added.
In April, Tk26,269 crore was transferred from individual accounts through MFS services. Tk2,878 crore of salary and allowances of different organisations have been distributed. Tk2,668 crore has been paid for various services.
Recently, the central bank has increased its limit to hiking the volume of transactions in mobile banking.
From now on, customers will be able to deposit Tk30,000 through agents per day and Tk50,000 through bank accounts or cards using MFS services.
Earlier, it was not possible to deposit more than Tk30,000 daily. The deposit limit from cards was also not specified. Now one customer can send Tk2 lakh per month to another. Earlier this limit was Tk75,000.
The Bangladesh Bank launched mobile banking activities in 2010. Mobile Financial Services started its journey in the country on 31 March 2011 with the launch of Dutch-Bangla Bank's mobile banking services.
Later, Brac Bank launched a mobile banking service as a subsidiary. At present, bKash dominates the mobile banking services in the country, followed by Nagad.