MFS providers lose 49 lakh clients in Jan-Mar

HM Murtuza | Published: 00:00, May 11,2019


A file photo shows a man sitting in front of a bkash agent-shop in Dhaka. Country’s mobile financial service operators lost 49 lakh subscribers in the January-March quarter of the year 2019 after witnessing a slowdown in growth in 2018. — New Age photo

Country’s mobile financial service providers lost 49 lakh subscribers in the January-March quarter of the year 2019 after witnessing a slowdown in growth in 2018.
As per the latest BB data, 16 operators including bKash, Rocket and U-cash are offering MFS in the country.
The number of active MFS accounts dropped to 3.24 crore at the end of March this year from 3.73 crore at the end of December last year.
Officials of MFS operators said changing mobile operators by mobile subscribers through mobile number portability service was a reason for the fall in the number of MFS subscribers as network switching through MNP caused service disruption.
Besides, many of the MFS accountholders prefer taking agent banking service to receiving MFS due to high MFS charges, they said.
Customers can transfer money at a charge of just Tk 2.5 for each Tk 1,000 in agent banking service whereas MFS operators charge up to Tk 20 for transfer of same amount of money.
As a result of high charge, many of the customers prefer agent banking to MFS.
The slowdown was observed in daily average transaction through mobile financial services as it grew by 7.17 per cent in November 2018 compared with the daily average transaction in January of the year when the growth rate was 16.7 per cent.
The number of daily average transaction through MFS also dropped by 32,680 to 67.44 lakh in March this year from 67.77 lakh at the end of December last year.
BB officials said that strict measures to tackle irregularities through MFS might be one of the reasons for the slowdown in transactions through the service.
To tackle rising illegal use of MFS, the central bank from February 1, 2017 brought down the daily ceiling of mobile cash-in to Tk 15,000 from Tk 25,000 and slashed the maximum cash-out limit to Tk 10,000 from Tk 25,000.
The monthly maximum cash-in limit was also slashed to Tk 1,00,000 from Tk 1,50,000, and the maximum monthly limit on cash-out was brought down to Tk 50,000 from Tk 1,50,000.
BB at the same time also asked the MFS providers not to open more than one account against a national identity card.
In November, 2017, BB again put a limit on retaining fund on the MFS account, setting it at Tk 3 lakh.
Mentioning the constraints bank-led MFS is facing, the multinational development organisations as well as the mobile phone operators have been pressing for opening up MFS for the mobile phone operators.
The total monthly transaction through the MFS operators, however, increased by Tk 2,573 crore to Tk 34,678.37 crore in March this year from Tk 32,105.57 crore in December last year.
The number of MFS agents also increased to 9.19 lakh in March this year from 8.86 lakh in December last year.

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