Experts for cut in MFS transaction charges

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:11, Apr 25,2017


Bangladesh Bank and commercial banks should take measure to decrease existing higher charges on transaction through mobile financial services, said experts in Dhaka on Monday.
The clients now have to count around 2 per cent charge against their per transaction through the MFS which is higher than the charge imposed by the banks, they said in a discussion on ‘Future Role of Mobile Financial Services in Bangladesh’ at a two-day conversation.
The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies organised the conversation programme titled ‘Bangladesh Journey: Accelerating Transformation’ that began on Sunday at a hotel in the capital.
BIDS senior research fellow Monzur Hossain presented the keynote paper at the event saying that the clients were now counting higher transaction cost through the MFS than that of foreign countries.
The MFS has got a momentum in different African countries, but their transaction cost is lower than in Bangladesh, he said.
Monzur said, ‘The MFS providers in the African countries usually impose lower transaction charge if the clients settle big amount of money meaning that they have introduced a separate charge scale. But, our clients have to count equal charge against their any amount of transaction.’
He said that it was not logical to impose a lower transaction ceiling through the MFS to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
Monzur said that the regulators should take initiative to introduce telecom operator-led MFS model along with existing bank-led model to ensure a competitive market. chief executive officer AKM Fahim Mashroor said the regulators should not introduce the telco-led MFS model as the telecom operators were only the infrastructure service providers.
He said that the central bank and banks should take measure to decrease the higher transaction charge through the MFS considering the marginal people’s income level.
‘The merchants are now facing huge bar to receive payment from the clients through the MFS. The authorities concerned should relax the rules for the merchants so that they can receive the payment through the mobile banking easily,’ Mashroor said.
BB general manager Lila Rashid said that the central bank had been discussing with the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission since 2013 to reset the transaction charge through the mobile banking.
She said that the central bank would not allow introducing the telco-led model to expedite the MFS as the BTRC regulated the mobile phone operators while the central bank controlled the scheduled banks.
Kamal Quadir, the bKash chief executive officer, claimed that the transaction charge through the MFS was lower than that of the least development countries in line with a survey conducted by the BB.
The actual service charge through the MFS is 1.85 per cent, but the clients are frequently giving 2 per cent in absence of a financial literacy, he said.
In a separate event of the conversation, experts requested the government to take national strategy to expedite the financial inclusion.
Institute for Inclusive Finance and Development adviser Baqui Khalily said that micro-finance institutions would keep a major role in accelerating the financial inclusion.
‘Financial Inclusion is not only mobilising savings from rural people but also giving them a scope to get access to banks’ finance’, he said at the event titled ‘Financial Inclusion and the Banking Sector: Some Critical Issues’.
The banks are not investing the rural deposit to make vibrant the rural economic activities, he said.
Dhaka Bank managing director Syed Mahbubur Rahman said that the country’s banking sector had changed a lot for the last 15 years as they had given their attention to SME sector.
The banks should disburse more loans to the small and micro entrepreneurs to speed up the financial inclusion, he said.

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