Transactions through the mobile financial service channel increased by 29.26 per cent or Tk 1,27,133 crore in the year 2020 as the service enabled people to receive payments of salaries and wages and conduct other financial transactions staying at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Bangladesh Bank data showed that the transactions through the MFS increased to Tk 5,61,622 crore in 2020 from Tk 4,34,489 crore in the previous year.
MFS operators said that the service had emerged as a means of transparent disbursement of salaries and wages to the export-oriented industries’ workers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Under the stimulus package meant for the export-oriented industries, the government made workers’ salary disbursement through MFS accounts a must, giving a boost to the MFS operators.
Besides, the government also decided to disburse money to the beneficiaries of the government’s social safety net programme amounting to around Tk 8,000 crore through the mobile-based financial system.
A large number of people, mostly city dwellers, also preferred staying at home for around three months. In the period, they received services like utility bill payments and grocery shopping online and used the MFS as a means of transactions, the operators said.
Nagad, a digital financial service arm of Bangladesh Post Office, managing director Tanvir A Mishuk told New Age, ‘I think a 30-per cent increase in mobile payments in a calendar year is a very significant and massive milestone for the overall digitalisation process, especially for the financial sector.’
‘Of course, the COVID-19 has made an important contribution here,’ said Tanvir.
He said that an increase of Tk 1,27,173 crore in transaction value in 2020 gave Nagad an additional confidence in regards to gaining the trust of people.
Even a few years ago, people used the mobile financial channel only to send money from one place to another but now it is one of the main means of payment for shopping both online and in person, Tanvir said.
He also thinks that currently almost the entire utility bills are being paid through the mobile money platform.
‘This method has also become very popular in paying salaries and tuition fees,’ he said.
The BB data also showed that the monthly and daily average transactions through the MFS increased to Tk 46,802 crore and Tk 1,539 crore respectively in the year 2020. The volume of monthly average transactions was Tk 36,207 crore and the daily average transaction Tk 1,190 crore in 2019.
The central bank’s data, however, showed that the number of active subscribers of the country’s MFS operators dropped by 6.65 per cent or 23 lakh in the immediate past year compared with that in the same period of the previous year.
The number of active subscribers dropped to 3.23 crore in 2020 from 3.46 crore in 2019.
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