Digital transactions increased in March compared to February. As transactions using credit and debit cards have increased, so has the number of users.
On the other hand, transactions have increased both in point-of-sale (POS) terminals and e-commerce, according to the updated statistics published by the central bank.
It shows transactions using credit and debit cards increased by 18% and 21% respectively in March compared to the previous month.
The number of credit cards increased to 23,230 and debit cards to about 4 lakh in March.
Compared to February, in March e-commerce transactions increased by about 29% and transactions on POS machines surged by about 16%.
"March is longer than February by three days, so transactions are showing a bit more normally," Abul Kashem Md Shirin, managing director of Dutch-Bangla Bank, told The Business Standard.
"Also, as coronavirus infections increased in March, many may have increased their online shopping to maintain physical distance."
The head of digital finance services at a private bank, wishing not to be named, said after the first wave of the Covid-19, the economy that had started getting back to normal at the end of last year reached its peak in March.
With the second wave starting again, he thought the transactions would not increase as much in April and May.
But, since the lockdown started in April, e-commerce transactions have increased a lot, he added.
Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard, told TBS the transaction in March increased mainly for buying daily necessities, foods, and in some cases electronic products before the second wave of coronavirus hit the country.
"On the other hand, at the end of March, sales increased to some extent ahead of the Pahela Baishakh but it decreased due to the lockdown in April," he added.
"If we get the information for the month of April, it may be seen that the situation will not be so good as compared to March."
He said digital transactions are rapidly gaining popularity in Bangladesh. With the forthcoming budget in mind, all parties have demanded a 5% reduction in the tax levied on these transactions. If this demand is met, as transaction costs decrease, so the number of new transactions will go up.
Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said, due to the pandemic, digital transactions have been on the rise since last year, which is continuing.
He said the idea that the transactions have increased as the income has risen is not correct but they are increasing in real need.
Besides, the interest of the customers is increasing as the service providers are also offering various types of facilities.