The number of active customers of mobile banking has significantly decreased in October as compared to September, with the service losing more than 77 lakh subscribers that month alone.
The number of active accounts dropped to 3.32 crore in October, which is about 19% fewer than the figure in September, according to the monthly report on mobile financial services released by the central bank on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the number of active accounts increased in September compared to August.
However, the number of active accounts in August decreased by more than 21 lakhs, compared to July.
When asked why such a large number of accounts had disappeared in October, a senior central bank official said a mobile banking account was considered dormant if there were no transactions for a month.
The number of active accounts increased after new ones were opened to receive the cash assistance of Tk2,500 per person allocated by the government for the 50 lakh marginalized people impacted by the coronavirus.
At present, most of those accounts have become inactive due to a lack of activity.
He also said some accounts become inactive every month due to the lack of festivals at this time of the year.
Meanwhile, government payments in October increased by almost five times or 341% compared to September.
In this regard, Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, chief public relations officer of bKash, said that government payments have increased in active accounts.
When asked why such a large number of accounts had become inactive, he replied, "It is normal. The number of active accounts increases to make payments at the start and close of the year, and at festivals."
He also thinks that most of the accounts opened by marginalized people who had received cash assistance from the government (during the Covid-19 pandemic) through mobile banking have now become inactive.
In addition, a portion of the accounts, which were used to pay garment workers under the stimulus package, also via mobile banking, may have been deactivated.
The central bank's report found that the amount of salary disbursement by institutions using mobile banking services fell by about 2% in October compared to September.
Dalim added that many customers have shifted from mobile banking services to the payment service providers (PSPs), so their accounts may have become inactive.
Meanwhile, despite the decline in utility bill payments in October, money transactions using mobile banking have increased by 35%.
A senior official at a mobile banking service provider told The Business Standard that they did not see any logical reason behind the reduction of such a large number of accounts, despite the increase in transactions in October.
Although the number of active accounts decreased, the total transaction and daily transaction volumes in October led the rate of opening new accounts to increase, compared to September.
In October, total transactions increased by 6% to Tk53,258 crore. On the other hand, the average daily turnover that same month (October) increased by about 5% to Tk1,718 crore.
The number of total accounts has increased to 9.64 crore of which, only 3.32 crore are active.