The journey of "Cashless Bangladesh" – a quick response or QR code-based universal payment system developed by the central bank – has started with an initial engagement of 1,200 merchants, including street vendors.
Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor Ahmed Jamal inaugurated the Bangla QR code-based new payment system at Motijheel in the capital on Wednesday.
"From now on, anyone can make payments using the QR codes, regardless of their account-keeping banks or organisations. Earlier, the service was limited. Clients of a particular bank could make payments using the QR codes of the bank only," said Md Mezbaul Haque, executive director and spokesperson of the central bank.
For example, a tea stall owner had an account with Islami Bank. If he wished to take payment through the QR code system, he could offer the service to those who had accounts with the same bank, the official explained and added that other bank clients could not use the method in that case.
"The new initiative brings a solution to that. Now, you can make payments from any bank to merchant accounts directly."
A total of 10 banks, three mobile financial services – bKash, Mcash, Rocket – and three multinational payment service providers – Mastercard, Visa, and American Express or Amex – joined the system, according to central bank officials.
The banks are Dutch Bangla Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, AB Bank Bank, Eastern Bank, Islami Bank, United Commercial Bank, City Bank, Bank Asia, PUbali Bank and One Bank.
To avail of the service, one needs to have an app of his bank, card or mobile service provider.
"How easy the service is! I have received my payment of Tk30 just now from a customer," said Shapla, a cobbler in the Motijheel area. "No worries about payment. Just worked and received," she added.
"Changing money against big notes is a big problem for us. Many are used to dodge our wages saying that they have no small notes. Hopefully, the QR payment system will help us get rid of this situation," added Rakesh, another cobbler in the same area.