As a result of the all-out lockdown imposed to tackle the second wave of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, credit card transactions declined in April by Tk248.6 crore compared to that in the previous month.
The information was disclosed in a report on e-banking and e-commerce of the central bank released on Monday.
According to the report, credit card transactions fell to Tk1,534.6 crore in April from Tk1,783.2 crore in March, which saw the highest number of transactions in the last two years.
Asked about the decrease in transactions, Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of Mastercard, told The Business Standard credit card transactions in Bangladesh usually are done in person and cards are mostly used in superstores or shopping malls.
He said superstores and shopping malls were closed as the lockdown was in force in April.
"As a result, people did not go out, which ultimately reduced card transactions. Many people transacted on the internet using cards, but such transactions were much less in number," he said.
Kamal said as the situation was somewhat normal at the end of last year and the first three months of this year, credit card transactions were also on the rise at the time.
"But when the second wave of the pandemic hit the country, everything stumbled again. Especially, with the closure of airlines, tourist spots, hotels, motels, and even restaurants, card transactions decreased a lot. Cards are mostly used in these places," he added.
According to the central bank report, credit card transactions were steadily increasing from September last year to March this year. In September 2020, transactions amounted to Tk1,200 crore while the figure rose to Tk1,700 crore in March.
Kamal said the use of cards had not increased in April, although it was the fasting month. "This is because those who purchased from e-commerce sites basically used mobile banking to pay."
He, however, hoped that since the situation started to become normal in May, transaction figures of that month would be higher.
Meanwhile, despite the decline in transactions, the number of credit cards issued increased by about 10,000 in April. The number stood at 1,746,819, up from 1,737,134 in March.
According to the central bank, debit card transactions also declined in April compared to March. In March, such transactions stood at Tk22,000 crore, but it declined by Tk1,751 crore to reach Tk20,248 crore in April.
In April, 2,280,000 debit cards were issued, up by 3.5 lakh compared to the March figure.