Transactions through mobile financial services (MFS) dropped by 27 percent, or Tk10,756 crore, in April mainly due to the countrywide shutdown and subsequent stagnation of economic activities.
According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, MFS transactions fell to Tk29,029 crore in April, from Tk39,785 crore in the previous month.
The government enforced the two-month shutdown following the detection of the first coronavirus cases in the country on March 8, which disrupted economic activities.
As a result, daily average transactions through the payment gateway dropped to Tk968 crore in April this year, from Tk1,283 crore in March.
ATM Tahmiduzzaman, company secretary of United Commercial Bank – the parent entity of MFS UCash – said except for a handful, almost all businesses faced a downward trend during the coronavirus pandemic.
MFS also faced setbacks during the shutdown, he said.
There were no merchant payments as the shopping malls were closed. Collection for business entities' distribution channels and payments against police cases also dropped as people rarely moved.
"Utility payments almost stopped as the government suspended collections," Tahmiduzzaman said.
He said transactions by garment workers and other labourers staying in Dhaka dropped as many of them left the capital for their villages.
Payments to university students from their families also dropped as the institutions were closed.
"Because of these, MFS transactions also witnessed a drop, as is usual during an economic slowdown," he said.
Apart from the transaction value, the number of daily average transactions also declined by 7.8 percent in April. In that month, the number of transactions decreased to 217.6 million from 235.8 million in the previous month.
However, the number of registered MFS clients increased by 3.1 percent to 85.1 million in April, from 82.6 million in the previous month.
The number of active MFS subscribers also increased by 4.9 percent to 28.1 million from 26.8 million.
Due to the outbreak of coronavirus and limited movement, remittance inflow through MFS increased significantly to Tk112.38 crore from Tk31.63 crore in the previous month.