The banking sector has experienced 8.38 lakh new Internet banking customers during the pandemic year as customers are becoming more habituated to digital banking amid movement restrictions.
At the end of May this year, the total number of Internet banking users stood at 35.60 lakh over 27.22 lakh in the same month last year, according to the latest data released by the Bangladesh Bank.
Although the number of users has been growing rapidly since the virus outbreak, online banking penetration is still very low in proportion to total bank account holders.
Only 3% of bank account holders have access to online banking. The total number of bank account holders stood at 11.58 crore at the end of December last year, according to the Bangladesh Bank data.
Banks have been investing in digital banking heavily by introducing new apps and products during the pandemic year, resulting in a rise in the number of online users.
Internet transactions have also doubled because of the rise in the number of users during the time.
The transaction value reached Tk11,384 crore in May this year from Tk5,531 crore in the same month of the previous year.
Banks are facilitating online banking for customers to discourage their physical presence in branches to contain virus spread, causing a rise in transaction value.
For an instance, considering the rise in digital banking and digital payment, Brac Bank Limited has recently conducted a series of online discussions on social media to raise awareness among customers.
Tara, the bank's women banking solution segment, is also running webinars to enhance its capacity.
Selim RF Hussain, managing director and chief executive officer of Brac Bank, said, "It is our responsibility to help customers adapt to the new normal."
"The digital mandate is not something new to us; it has simply been brought into a sharp focus during the pandemic. We owe to the society for creating a comfort zone for online banking and digital transactions," he added.
"We hope that the shows that we will be hosting on our official Facebook page and YouTube channel will reach out to a large number of people and make them familiar with the safe form of digital banking," he said.
City Bank in March this year achieved an international award titled "Best Digital Bank in Bangladesh 2021" from AsiaMoney, a leading global financial publication, for its outstanding contribution to digital banking in Bangladesh.
The bank's state-of-the-art digital banking services City Touch, "Ekhoni instant account opening" app, smart IVR call centre, WhatsApp Banking etc. helped it gain global attention. These services bring together all the conveniences of branch banking to the screen of Internet-enabled devices.
City Bank offers the most convenient Internet banking services to customers through its City Touch platform. Besides, the smart IVR for call centre services helps to reach customers from all walks of life and the Ekhoni instant account opening app contributes to the inclusion of customers through electronic KYC.
To facilitate digital banking, Prime Bank Limited has made Internet banking registration easier for customers during the pandemic.
Customers can avail its latest Internet banking service, ALTITUDE, by visiting https://www.primebank.com.bd/altitude_self_register/. In this regard, they have to follow some simple steps that require less than 10 minutes.
Customers can now also avail real-time fund transfer between the Prime Bank and other banks' accounts, repayment of credit card bills, and many other utility services.
Mercantile Bank has launched the digital Banking service "MBL Rainbow" in June this year.
The bank introduced the initiative to ensure fast, safe and convenient banking without the physical presence of customers.
Customers will be able to download the App from Google Play or Apple Store by using a smartphone and open a bank account to enjoy its services anytime and anywhere across the country.
MBL Rainbow offers convenient banking services such as MBL to MBL account fund transfer, fund transfer to any bank through BEFTN, utility bill payment, mobile top-up; money withdrawal through QR Code, Online purchase, insurance payment, travel and entertainment-related ticketing and booking services, agent banking and MYCash transactions.